Abortion

Missouri Lawmaker Behind Confusing Abortion Bill Says He'll Clarify Ban on Ending Ectopic Pregnancies

But the bill is still a mess.

|

A bill under consideration in Missouri would make "trafficking abortion-inducing devices or drugs" a crime. While many attempts to ban abortion go after doctors performing surgical abortions or prescribing abortion pills, this one is much broader, targeting any person or entity that "knowingly imports, exports, distributes, delivers, manufactures, produces, prescribes, administers, or dispenses" any "instrument, device, medicine, drug, or any other means or substance to be used for the purpose of performing or inducing an abortion on another person in violation of any state or federal law."

The legislation—introduced by Rep. Brian Seitz (R–Branson)—is one of several new anti-abortion measures under consideration in the Missouri legislature. Another bill, S.B. 778, would ban abortion after fetal cardiac activity can be detected and would allow private citizens to sue offenders (à la the Texas bill passed last year).

But Seitz's bill (H.B. 2810) has been garnering the most national news, owing to a provision concerning ectopic pregnancies.

The bill says that trafficking in abortion drugs or devices would generally be a class B felony but under certain circumstances would be a class A felony, which carries a minimum sentence of 10 years. The more serious penalty would apply when an offense involved three or more women, a pregnancy past 10 weeks' gestational age, a victim of human trafficking, or a second or subsequent offense. It would also apply when an abortion is "performed or induced or was attempted to be performed or induced on a woman who has an ectopic pregnancy."

An ectopic pregnancy—in which a fertilized egg implants outside the womb—is never viable. It will not develop into a baby, no matter what is done. But without intervention, ectopic pregnancies can be very dangerous for the women suffering from them, leading to internal bleeding, burst Fallopian tubes, future infertility, or death.

If Seitz's bill is passed, it "would literally kill pregnant people," said Vanity Fair.

The fertilized eggs in some ectopic pregnancies will dissolve on their own, but most require further action—either a drug is injected to stop the pregnancy or a surgery is performed. Such interventions are not generally controversial, even among anti-abortion activists. So H.B. 2810 is extreme even by abortion restriction standards, if people are understanding it correctly.

The bill's sponsor claims that many people are misreading the legislation. Seitz told Bloomberg "this bill does nothing to curtail that LEGAL activity, as it can present a clear and present danger to the mother." Rather, it's "designed to curtail the illegal transportation, manufacture, sale, use, etc. of otherwise legal drugs."

The bill's text does specify that "trafficking abortion-inducing devices or drugs" is only a crime when it's done "for the purpose of performing or inducing an abortion on another person in violation of any state or federal law" (emphasis mine). So as long as abortion is legal up to a certain point in Missouri—which it currently is, up to 22 weeks, and longer if a woman's health is at risk—providing drugs or devices to induce an abortion before that point would presumably be OK.

Confusingly, however, the bill singles out aborting pregnancies past 10 weeks' gestation for harsher punishment. If it only applies to abortions that are already illegal, and abortion is legal up to 22 weeks, this framework doesn't make sense.

Perhaps Seitz—who did not respond to Reason's request for comment—is operating under the idea that the state's proposed ban on abortion after six weeks will pass.

But that still wouldn't explain the part about ectopic pregnancies. Since ectopic pregnancies always risk women's health and lives, they would always fall under any exception for the health or life of the mother. The only way the ectopic pregnancy provision's inclusion would seem to make sense was if Seitz is anticipating a future abortion ban that does not contain an exception for the life of the mother and he wants to be extremely clear that nothing changes just because a pregnancy isn't actually viable.

Seitz told Bloomberg that he would be offering an amendment to the bill that clarifies the ectopic pregnancy rules.

The next hearing on the bill is scheduled for March 22.

NEXT: New York City to Unvaxxed NBA Star Kyrie Irving: You Can Come to the Arena, but You Can't Play

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. Is the government going to raid fertility clinics, seize all the "full persons" sitting on the shelves, and impregnate women with them? We're way into sunk-cost territory here. You spend half a century on this insane crusade, what are you gonna do? Be moderate about it? I don't even think the fundies know that their mission is to undo the birth control revolution and force women back into subservience. i think they actually believe their dumb bullshit about embryos being babies. You have to be careful with the lies you tell yourself!

    1. Years ago, I read an article by an arbitrator or mediator or some such. He said the most important first step was getting each party to describe the other party's position well enough that the other party agreed it was well-stated. If you can't describe the other party's position, there can be no meeting of the minds. How well this applies in all situations, I do not know, but it's stayed with me as a good starting point.

      You ought to try that sometime.

      1. That's actually a fantastic idea. Be a great class exercise or an interesting type of qualification for a formal debate.

        1. I know some kids who all did high school debate, and got the impression that at least some times, they did not know which side they would take until the moderator flipped a coin. Having to prepare both sides is another side of this.

          Would be pretty neat to have political debates focused on a single point, where the first step is for each side to present the opponent's position and the opponent has to grade it, the moderator grades it too, and the moderator also grades the opponent's grade. Of course, the real grade is the audience. But a half hour or full hour debate on one single topic would be interesting enough that I might even watch it.

          Unfortunately, it's all meaningless, since voters vote for candidates, not individual topics.

          1. [BECOME A MEMBER] I make over $200-$300 an hour for online work. ggh I heard about this job 3 months ago and after joining I easily made $30k with no online jobs knowledge. Just try it out on the attached page.
            ....
            More details....... http://extradollars3.blogspot.com/

          2. Yeah, if implemented I'd do it for soho style debates between reporters/activists not politicians.

            1. Every sperm is sacred!!!

              1. I make 85 dollars each hour for working an online job at home. QAAZ I never thought I could do it but my best friend makes 10000 bucks every month working this job and she recommended me to learn more about it. The potential with this is endless.
                For more detail …... http://jobscash.tk

              2. Birth control stops a wriggling tail! Wasn't it HL Mencken who once described coercive mystical bigots as Spirochaetae?

          3. You should checknout the Munk Debates. This is exactly what they do, with the added requirement of civil and substantive debate. It is an amazing organization and they don't shy away from controversial people if they can make their points civilly. They've had people like Steve Bannon and Christopher Hitchens.

            I can't recommend it enough. There is a free basic membership that gives you access to all the old debates. And the topics run from current events/hit button issues to more esoteric subjects like whether Greece or Rome was more important to Western culture.

            It's a fantastic brain-stretcher.

      2. They believe embryos should have personhood rights. Is that wrong?

        Seems like it's their problem to clearly explain their position on what rights women should be left with, because the impression I get is that they'd prefer that remain obfuscated.

        1. No, you are not following the procedure. Mentioning women's rights without mentioning child rights shows you still are unclear on both the debate concept and their position.

          1. But they want their position to be unclear enough to have a plausible escape hatch from logic. If abortion is murder, then every miscarriage is a death that must be mourned, and every woman who gets an abortion (up to a third of the women in the country) must be worthy of life in prison or the death penalty. That's just following the logic.

            1. … every miscarriage is a death that must be mourned

              They are.

              1. Sometimes even mourned by the people that normally advocate for abortions, but if you try and tell them to not worry about that "clump of cells" they miscarried, suddenly you're the bad guy.

              2. I have observed 3 couples who lost pregnancies in the final month. They all mourned as if they have lost a child. I have never experienced that personally but i know i would feel the same way.

                I have also observed countless couples (including ourselves, twice) who lost pregnancies much earlier (<8 weeks). None of us mourned as if we lost a children. It was various degrees of "this is upsetting" but nothing compared to the first group.

                anecdotal but i suspect not uncommon.

                also: i was very surprised to see how common miscarriage is. Many couples we know was like "Oh yeah we had 1/2/etc miscarriages while we were trying" and these were all youngish healthy people.

                1. my kingdom for an edit button...sigh

                2. My mother had 5 miscarriages before I was born. It's very common.

              3. "… every miscarriage is a death that must be mourned

                They are."

                If Der TrumpfenFuhrer gets Stormy Daniels pregnant, and Stormy Daniels gets an abortion, instead of collecting up to millions in child support... Is Der TrumpfenFuhrer REALLY gonna mourn the abortion or miscarriage? WHY, time and time again, have conservaturd politicians anxiously offered to pay, or have paid, for abortions? Your "logic" (and facts) have been aborted here, it seems to me!

        2. Clarity would make the violation of the 13th Amendment too obvious to ignore. Totalitarian fascists regard Ignorance as Strength.

    2. If you can imagine for a moment a point in human history where laws did not exist as a concept and the first humans tried to enforce restrictions against murder, I'm sure you can imagine how difficult enforcement was.

      Difficulty of enforcement has nothing to do with whether or not a behavior should be permitted. Libertarians recognize a natural right to life. You can't have that life if you're killed in the womb. Doesn't matter where you draw the line on that one and line-drawing has always been sickening because infants can't live on their own either and the moral justification can be used to justify genocide and ethnic cleansing.

      Some degree of abortion has always been permissible on the basis that the intent of sex was not child rearing. We shouldn't be going after unlucky people. We're talking about people who use abortion as contraceptive and who believe that the inconvenience of child rearing entitles them to full control over the future life of an unborn child.

      1. "infants can't live on their own either"

        In a long list of dishonest arguements that anti-abortion folks use, this is one of the worst. No one is saying that life begins when someone can take care of themselves without parents. That's so obvious the only way you can say otherwise is if you are intentionally misrepresenting what pro-choice advocates are saying.

        Independent means separate. If your brain is too feeble to understand the concept, I'll make is simple. If the mother dies, what is the chance that the fetus survives? If it's 0%, it isn't an independent organism. It isn't an independent (as in separate) person. So it isn't alive.

        "people who use abortion as contraceptive "

        This is another whopper that anti-abortion people tell. No one uses a procedure that costs hundreds of dollars as a contraceptive. They do use it as a fallback when the contraception they use fails, however. There's nothing wrong with that.

        These sort of statements (like the "if she didn't want a baby she shouldn't have had sex" idiocy) have onky one purpose: blaming and shaming a woman for having sex. It's the paternalistic, condescending cruelty.

        Sex is for pleasure. The overwhelming majority of sex is not for procreation. The idea that sex is only good and right if used for procreation and dirty and wrong when used for pleasure is as wrong-headed and self-righteous as saying sex is only for marriage. Abti-abortion people need to get over themselves.

        "future life of an unborn child"

        The accurate way to say that is "the potential, but not close to guaranteed, future life of a fetus". Claiming anything more is hyperbole.

    3. Government morons world wide want to do things for their own reasons, NOT for their countries or states good. The Federal government was the BIGGEST MISTAKE this country EVER MADE.

  2. I personally find abortion offensive, I think; do not think I would want one if I were of the birthing persuasion. But I think all anti-abortion laws are impossible to write precisely or accurately, and this bill demonstrates that in spades. Does it ban surgical tools commonly used for other purposes? Yes, it does. Does it ban ordinary medical equipment, like blood pressure cuffs? Yes, it does. Does it ban ordinary office furniture? Could certainly be read that way.

    In general, all anti-abortion laws can do is enrich lawyers and those who can best convince the useful idiots of their outrage.

    1. Denying care to women who need to terminate a pregnancy for medical necessity is part of the intent of the bans. This is happening in Texas and Catholic hospitals have a long documented history of denying or delaying treatment.

      1. Your history of deception and outright lies makes me wonder how much you are correct here. A lot of anti-abortion laws do have exceptions for health of the mother, rape, incest, etc.

        At any rate, your comment is non-responsive to my comment, really just a hook for you to rant. Next time, try to answer what was written, if you actually want a discussion.

        1. I posted my comment in the wrong spot.

        2. The Texas law does not have such exemptions and the health of the mother is very limited.

      2. It's always fun to strawman those you oppose by stating their intent about which you know nothing and in a way that they would not agree that is their intent, even among their own and in light of their own wording to the contrary. This is a game of "neener neener, yur a punkin-eater", but with slightly less imagination.

    2. No, it doesn't ban those. Just because you can't find a way to exclude something from a ban doesn't mean it is therefore, by default, banned.

      Well-written laws are written stating the intent and with enough general language that is broad enough that each individual circumstance doesn't have to be specifically re-legislated. This is also a big function of the courts, to define the parameters of how the law is interpreted, allowing enough room so that those who want it to include everything and those who want it to include nothing are both thwarted.

      There is a "reasonable man" presumption used under the law that includes ridiculous extremes of both over-reach and over-limitation. Court cases are almost always subjected to this "reasonable man" theory and in this case for instance, anyone attempting to say that the ban covers blood pressure cuffs will be summarily dismissed. To make such a claim would be a problem of the claim, not NOT enough specificity in the law.

      As an early law professor warned us, "Just because you can rant all day long and expound on the benefits of a round triangle doesn't mean you can actually create a round triangle... or that I'll let you get away with that shit."

      1. It's in the bill and not subject to interpretation, '...."performed or induced or was attempted to be performed or induced on a woman who has an ectopic pregnancy." ...' Your understanding of the proper role of a Court is beyond Orwellian. Concluding taht all laws can be rewritten if the 'reasonable man' would dos is bonkers and right out of the Soviet play book. Any judge could have granted women the right to vote (or have an abortion despite State laws to the contrary) or ended slavery based on the 'reasonable man' standard. A contract promising to deliver a round triangle becomes void under Centuries old law of impossibility of performance which is an objective standard, not a 'reasonable man' standard.

  3. Denying care to women who need to terminate a pregnancy for medical necessity is part of the intent of the bans. This is happening in Texas and Catholic hospitals have a long documented history of denying or delaying treatment.

    https://www.npr.org/2022/02/28/1083536401/texas-abortion-law-6-months

    1. Denying or delaying treatment is an ethical, legitimate function of the healthcare system. Or did the last two years not happen for you?

      1. Only if it is a legitamate medical reason and is determined by the doctor and the patient that it is the course of treatment they wish to pursue. Otherwise it's just government intrusion into the doctor-patient relationship.

        This is the strongest arguments against the medically unnecessary ultrasound and waiting period requirements that were forced on patients by the anti-abortion theocrats before they got the Supreme Court they wanted and decided they could impose even more of.their fringe beliefs on people by going after Roe.

    2. Cuz them bunch of wimmen haters jes wanna kill all those pregnant wimmen, huh? And grannies, and poor peeps, n' sum cullerds.

      That's some epic dumbassery you got going on there.

      1. Well, a lot of pro-lifers are men, and I would bet that even those pro-lifers who are women? Very few of them have found themselves in the following shoes: Lothario endlessly says “Love ya, babe, Love-ya- Love-ya- Love-ya, NOW can I get down your pants?” After she falls for him and he gets her pregnant, the abuse (from him) begins, and she finds out that he has 7 other “Love-ya” babes on the side, 4 of them also pregnant by him! So as I have said before, abortion is “veto power” against scum-bucket men. If these behavioral genes get passed on and on, humans will evolve into something like elephant seals, where the men most skilled at lying, and fighting off the other men, get a harem of 40 babes, and the rest of the men get nothing! So abortion is empowering women to fight off this sort of thing… And reserve their baby-making powers for men who are less lying scum, and will actually make good fathers to the children.

        So, they want to “capitally punish” the “offenders”, while they have never been in the above-described shoes! Self-righteousness, basically…

        Or maybe some of the anti-abortion men fantasize and lust after being the elephant-seal-like men who can gather the baby-making powers of a harem of 40 lied-to women, under the new scheme of things?

        I am glad that SOME you oppose theft. Theft by deception is also theft; I hope you can see that! When a severely lying Lothario-type dude (as described above) appropriates the baby-making powers of a deceived young woman, that, too, is theft! Abortion is anti-theft, when a deceived woman no longer wants to rent out her womb to a deceptive scumbag, prospective god-awful supposed "father"!
        Those who are anti-abortion unmarried men should be out there desperately courting women who have already been deceived by scumbucket men, and volunteering to raise these unborn children (who are NOT their biological offspring), to fend off a HUGE root cause of abortion, and to put their money where their mouth is! And married anti-abortion men? Check with your wives; see if they mind you donating all your spare time and money to helping out these future unmarried moms!

      2. Unlike the sainted champion of women Kermit Gosnell.

        1. Bringing up Kermit Gosnell shows you aren't a serious person. Pretending that what he did was supported by anyone but wingnuts is about as dishonest as it gets.

          1. Pretending that what he did wasn't supported by an awful lot of people is about as dishonest as it gets. He was getting regular referrals for illegal abortions from sources like planned parenthood, and managed to keep it up as long as he did because he was being protected by people who were supposed to be enforcing the laws against what he was doing.

            1. What he did was supported by almost no one. What he did was universally decried by mainstream pro-choice advocates.

              He didn't get referrals from Planned Parenthood. They had no connection to him (or support for him) whatsoever. Not before he was caught and not after. No abortion provider did.

              You want to demonize the people you disagree with so much that you will say anything, no matter how vile or unsupported, to make it seem like they are evil. They aren't. Nor, for that matter, are your side. They're wrong, they're anti-liberty, and they're anti-Constitution, but they aren't evil.

              With the exception of a small number of cynical sociopaths who are using the issue to gain power and influence, I assume that most anti-abortion folks honestly believe what they say they believe.

              If you were a decent person, you would do the same thing. And no, being a bad person (which you seem to be) and being an evil person are not the same thing.

    3. If they weren’t smart enough to take the pill or use a rubber, they should be denied access to the hospital.

      Am I progging correctly?

      1. Thinking that anyone who gets pregnant didn't use birth control is pure assumption on your part. And very dishonest.

  4. "A trolley is moving down a track. Five innocent people are strapped to the track. Pulling the voting lever can change the color of the trolley to red or blue."

    1. "MUST PULL THE LEVER FOR RED! FOR GRATE JUSTICE!"

      Also, where's Chidi when you need him?

      1. Nice Good Place reference!

    2. The time is 9:15 and a woman is standing at the switch that the 9:30 trolley is going to cross. If she throws the switch, the trolley will kill 10 people 15 min. later. If she doesn't throw the switch, it will arrive at the station, on time, where it will kill 10 people trapped on the track. If you think her throwing the switch and killing 10 people may be a crime, you're probably an anti-abortion male who's under the false impression that the statement "Women's rights are human rights" implies that men have reproductive rights too.

  5. Just when you thought it was safe to get back in the water.

    COVID’s new ‘deltacron’ variant: What’s known and what isn’t

    Good news though, there's a new, fourth booster available and Pfizer CEO says "you need it!"

  6. “Pregnant people”

    1. BTW, I vote you for 'handle of the year'.

    2. This is going to be a whole thing, isn't it? Just as soon as Greg Gutfeld hears of it.

      Pay no attention to climate change, there are college students being polite to trans people out there!

      1. Climate Change? Surely comrade Tony refers to misanthropic Global Warmunism, right? Those decreasing temperature curves are Satan's right-wing thermometers testing the faith of the sensitive, concerned and unable to differentiate a constant! #GRETAisGUDRUN!

  7. As a pro-life person, I must admit that the pro-life community is insanely irrational. No one is going to get their full wishlist of outcomes, compromise is the only way forward, but because pro-lifers insist on making this a religious issue, compromise will never happen.

    Compromise: We already have it. It's call the first trimester rule, or harm to the mother. Ectopic pregnancies are already covered. We can help on the margins through peaceful and voluntary activities, not on the heavy hand of tribal partisan legislation.

    1. The correct expression for Christian National Socialist girl-bulliers is pronatalist. Before the Thirteenth Amendment there was a lot of rape followed by forced reproduction in these States. Harriet Beecher Stowe used depictions of it to drum up support for protective tariffs. The Nazis later used it as part of the genocide to replace "selfish" Jews with altruistic Christians, hence the Lebensborn programs so attractive to anti-FDR Republicans.

  8. So it is not confusing, it just conflicts with your preferred outcomes and motivated reasoning, therefore feminist hussy fit.

  9. So as long as abortion is legal up to a certain point in Missouri—which it currently is, up to 22 weeks, and longer if a woman's health is at risk—providing drugs or devices to induce an abortion before that point would presumably be OK.

    GODDAMMIT NO! YOU DUMB FUCKS! NOT EVEN PLANNED PARENTHOOD WILL SELL YOU THE FUCKING DRUGS AFTER 70 GESTATIONAL DAYS! DO YOU KNOW WHY? BECAUSE AFTER 70 DAYS IT BECOMES NEAR IMPOSSIBLE TO INDUCE AN ABORTION IN SUCH A MANNER WITHOUT EFFECTIVELY POISONING THE WOMAN INVOLVED AND EVEN IF SUCCESSFUL, IT CAN AND DOES DESTROY HER REPRODUCTIVE SYSTEM MUCH THE SAME WAY AN ECTOPIC PREGNANCY WOULD YOU DUMB ASSHATS!

    IF THREE OR MORE WOMEN ARE TRYING TO CHEMICALLY INDUCE AN ABORTION AFTER 10 WEEKS THEY ARE BREAKING THE FUCKING LAW.

    1. You say that like it's a bad thing.

    2. Your self-righteous anger probably made you miss the fact that it isn't just medicinal abortions. It's any and every piece of medical equipment that is used in the abortion at any point. But, hey. As long as you are forcing your minority moral position on everyone else using the power of the state, you are being a good libertarian ... oh, wait.

      1. Your self-righteous anger probably made you miss the fact that it isn't just medicinal abortions.

        In your selective stupidity, you might willfully interpret a clear law vaguely in order to indulge your own stupidity. It would be one thing if it were plain ignorance, still pretty repugnant, but not willfully evil. But the information I've shared above I've shared before and is readily available to anyone with a glimmer of intelligence and modest interest in the topic.

        Do you think the speculums, obstetrics forceps, and scalpels come across the border labeled "For Abortion Use Only"? Or do you think that the law is aimed at (e.g.) barring nurses from swiping medical supplies off the shelf of their local hospital or device manufacturers from selling supplies in back alleys (you know, like actual no-shit trafficking) and performing at home abortions?

        Either way, chemically inducing an abortion at 22 weeks is not OK, regardless of what the law says and I see little moral value to people who make the argument in earnest. They clearly don't value human lives why should anyone else value theirs?

        1. I think it is a law intended to make abortion so difficult that it is a de facto ban.

          Pretending that there is some anti-crime intent to "[bar] nurses from swiping medical supplies off the shelf of their local hospital or device manufacturers from selling supplies in back alleys" is typical dishonesty from the anti-abortion crowd.

          If your cause is so righteous, why do you have to hide what you are doing by pretending it's something else? Is it possible even you know that most people disagree with banning abortion?

    3. But I do like that you are making a stong argument for reproductive medicine and the importance of a doctor providing the medical care their patient and their conscience dictates.

  10. Unsure if they're more evil or more stupid. Real neck and neck.

  11. Ah Beth -- baby-killing BITCH

  12. "knowingly imports, exports, distributes, delivers, manufactures, produces, prescribes, administers, or dispenses" any "instrument, device, medicine, drug, or any other means or substance to be used for the purpose of performing or inducing a HOMICIDE on another person in violation of any state or federal law." How are they supposed to cut their meat or shoot target practice if they ban all knives,forks and guns in MS?

  13. Was that Congressman Brian Seitz who beat up that Asian woman in New York?

  14. How hard is it to understand that it was bad drafting, and will shortly be corrected to read that the ban does NOT apply to ectopic pregnancies?

    1. There's also a highly domain-specific issue that I can't be certain whether lawmakers have any sort of grasp on, but ENB's general take on the issue and specific comments here indicate that, just like your typical policymakers, she neither knows nor cares.

      The intent of the trafficking may be to prevent a 1:1 replacement of abortion services with "ectopic pregnancy treatment centers". I would agree that it's a bit of a dumb notion but, I've played ICD-10 bingo and, again and at the same time, between MS lawmakers and ENB, there is no smart side to take.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.