Ohio abortion ‘trigger’ bill could outlaw in vitro fertilization; increase infant, maternal mortality rates,
COLUMBUS, Ohio -- An Ohio House bill that would outlaw abortion in Ohio under most circumstances could also criminalize in vitro fertilization, a Cincinnati fertility physician told lawmakers Thursday morning. The bill would also likely increase the state’s already-high infant and woman morbidity and mortality rates, intrude on the patient-physician relationship and possibly result in physicians fleeing the state, obstetricians and gynecologists said. Under HB 598, physicians and others who perform abortions through medication or instruments would face charges of criminal abortion, a fourth-degree felony. The bill would allow doctors who perform abortions to preserve a woman’s life and health to use medical records as an affirmative defense if they’re prosecuted. “HB 598 may erase the dreams of many patients of becoming parents through IVF or other reproductive technologies,” he said. In addition to embryos before they’re implanted, HB 598 creates problems for fertility doctors and women after they’re implanted. Sometimes, doctors perform selective reductions, a procedure to stop the heart of a fetus, which is usually reabsorbed into the woman when there is a multifetal pregnancy.
“This practice will result in triplet, quadruplet, quintuplet or more pregnancies,” Burwinkel said. Tim Ginter, a Columbiana County Republican, asked Burwinkel the percentage of pregnancies that result in selective reduction in his practice. Burwinkel said his practice helps over 2,000 pregnancies a year from in vitro and medication treatments. He described one pregnant patient with triplets who didn’t have a complete uterus. “I’m fairly certain she would not have made it to term or viability with triplets,” Burwinkel said. “Today we are already having to tell many of these patients they must travel out of state as we are unable to provide their standard medical care in Ohio,” he said. Ohio University medical student Shivani Deshpande said that students wouldn’t be able to receive complete medical training under HB 598.
She plans to stay in the state because she grew up in Ohio, but that won’t be the case for all future doctors, she said. “Others will leave Ohio to seek proper education and the ability to practice accurate medicine,” she said. “I’m wondering, from your perspective, what prenatal supports and postnatal supports do the women of this state need that we are currently not providing?” White asked. Burkett mentioned reversing the state’s maternal and infant morbidity and mortality problem and harmful social determinants of health that influence health and quality-of-life outcomes, such as economic stability, access to quality education, safe housing and a clean environment. “We have a long list of social determinants of health that I won’t detail here that women need support for,” Burkett said.
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