Disinformation about health care has ripped across social media in the wake of the Supreme Court’s abortion decision last week.
One of the most prominent claims is that newly implemented abortion bans in various states will hamper life-saving treatment for ectopic pregnancies and miscarriages. But that’s not true. You won’t be denied the necessary care for either condition under any state abortion ban.
And what about “medically necessary” abortion in the first place? We’ll dissect that claim, too.
Here’s what you need to know.
Ectopic pregnancy treatment is not illegal, and not considered an abortion by medical professionals
In an ectopic pregnancy, a fertilized egg implants and grows outside the uterus, usually in one of the fallopian tubes. Ectopic pregnancies are never viable and always put the mother’s life at risk because a growing fetus can burst the fallopian tube causing major internal bleeding.
Necessary treatment includes medication or surgery to remove the pregnancy and sometimes the fallopian tube.
Not a single pro-life law denies this care because the treatment is understood to be different than an abortion, morally and medically.
“Treating an ectopic pregnancy isn’t the same thing as getting an abortion,” Planned Parenthood says on its website. “Ectopic pregnancies are unsafely outside of your uterus (usually in the fallopian tubes), and are removed with a medicine called methotrexate or through a laparoscopic surgical procedure. The medical procedures for abortions are not the same as the medical procedures for an ectopic pregnancy.”
Dr. Christina Francis, M.D., a board-certified OB/GYN and associate scholar at Charlotte Lozier Institute, explained the same.
“My heart is breaking that women are being made to feel fearful by the misinformation that’s out there,” she said. “Treating ectopic pregnancies or miscarriages or other life-threatening conditions in pregnancy is not the same thing as an abortion.”
“Chemical abortions, which are being heavily promoted by the abortion industry and its allies, cannot treat an ectopic pregnancy according to the FDA,” Dr. Francis said. “The treatments for ectopic pregnancy are not the same procedures used by induced abortions, which even Planned Parenthood admits.”
“As a pro-life OB/GYN who’s practiced my entire career in hospitals that do not allow abortions, I have never been prevented from safely treating an ectopic pregnancy,” she added.
Former abortionist Dr. Steve Hammond told The Daily Wire’s Ben Shapiro this week that it’s “ridiculous” to think ectopic pregnancies will be barred from being treated, noting that such pregnancies were treated back in the 1950s, before Roe V. Wade.
Notably, 13 states have “trigger” abortion bans that went into effect after Roe was overturned or are slated to take effect soon.
The language of all 13 new state abortion bans specifies that the bans do not apply in cases where the mother’s life is at risk. Some of the new abortion bans even specifically mention ectopic pregnancies and miscarriages.
Georgia’s new abortion ban, for example, which could take effect soon, prohibits abortion except in the case of rape, incest, or when the mother’s life is at risk. Abortion was previously legal in Georgia for up to 20 weeks.
“Any such act shall not be considered an abortion if the act is performed with the purpose of removing a dead unborn child caused by spontaneous abortion or removing an ectopic pregnancy,” the Georgia bill states.
Miscarriages are not illegal
Miscarriages, where a baby tragically dies in a woman’s womb, are not illegal. And there is no pro-life legislation seeking to criminalize women who suffer natural miscarriages.
Misinformation around this has spread online, since post-miscarriage, some women need a procedure also used in first-term abortions. Of course, in this case, the doctor is not ending the unborn child’s life first.
A dilation and curettage, known as a D&C, is often a traumatic procedure for mothers, where doctors have to remove the deceased baby from inside the uterus.
In some abortions, doctors intentionally poison and dismember the unborn baby before removing it in a D&C.
These situations are not the same, and doctors know this. It will not be criminalized to receive treatment for a miscarriage.
Other medically necessary treatments that could result in an unborn child’s death will not be banned
Pro-abortion activists and left-wing politicians were quick to spread ambiguous fear-posts about abortion and health care.
For example, some claimed you would be denied life-saving care if you have cancer because the treatment could kill your baby. There is not a single pro-life law that seeks to criminalize this because it’s not an abortion.
Necessary early delivery, too, where the baby has no chance of surviving, is not an abortion and is not banned under any pro-life law. The baby is not preemptively and directly killed, as in an abortion.
What seems to be happening on the Left and with abortion doctors are games of semantics. Just because some care tragically results in an unborn child’s death or uses similar medical procedures does not mean it’s the direct and intentional killing of the unborn, which is how abortion is almost always widely understood. And these professionals and politicians know this.
Are abortions ever “medically necessary” to begin with?
There are scores of doctors who have come forward to challenge the claim that abortions are ever medically necessary.
“In the rare but tragic situations where a pregnancy puts the mother’s life at risk, there are medical procedures for compassionately separating the mother and her baby and working to save both lives,” Dr. Francis said. “The only intent of an abortion is to produce a dead baby.”
“Women deserve to be empowered by medically-accurate information,” she added.
Dr. Ingrid Skop, M.D., F.A.C.O.G., a board-certified OB/GYN who serves as senior fellow and director of medical affairs at Charlotte Lozier Institute (CLI), emphasized that the overwhelming majority of OB/GYNs do not perform abortions.
“Those of us who regularly treat women facing challenging and even traumatic pregnancies know that standard medical procedures are available to treat these situations without resorting to abortion,” Dr. Skop said. “In fact, the overwhelming majority of OB/GYNs do not perform abortions, and that’s good news for women’s health, as it is much safer for the woman to be treated in a medical setting with access to emergency care than at an abortion facility.”
And lastly, a former abortionist, Dr. Anthony Levatino, who performed some 1,200 abortions in his career before having a dramatic conversion, dismissed the claims at length that abortion is a necessity to save a woman.
“We hear all the time how abortion, including especially late-term abortion, is necessary to save women’s lives. Nothing could be further from the truth,” Levatino told LiveAction founder Lila Rose in 2019.
“I spent nine years working at a tertiary medical center. There are only certain hospitals in the country that are designated to take care of the really, really high-risk pregnancies … Albany Medical Center in Albany, New York, where I worked, was one of them,” he said. “I was faculty at the hospital for nine years, and I saw hundreds of cases of really severe pregnancy complications – cancers, heart disease, intractable diabetes … toxemia pregnancy, out of control. In those nine years, I saved hundreds of women from life-threatening pregnancies, and I did that by delivering them, by ending their pregnancy by delivery – either induction of labor or cesarean section.”
“I always tell people, in all of those years, the number of babies that I had to, that I was obligated to deliberately kill in the process was zero, none,” Levatino emphasized.