This story originally appeared in Truthout on March 10, 2022. It is shared here with permission.
A Republican lawmaker in Missouri wants to forbid the transfer and prescription of abortion medications in the state, and to place severe penalties on anyone who helps another person use such drugs, even in cases where the pregnancy isn’t viable and could result in serious complications or death.
Republican state Rep. Brian Seitz’s bill, HB 2810, would make it a felony offense to transport or make available “abortion-inducing devices or drugs” in the state. Under his proposal, anyone found guilty of doing so would be guilty of a class B felony, which would result in a prison sentence of five to 15 years.
Because of the way the bill is written, it would actually impose greater penalties on individuals who help people with ectopic pregnancies get abortion-inducing medication. Ectopic pregnancies happen when a fertilized egg implants outside of a person’s uterus, most commonly in the fallopian tubes, and are almost universally non-viable as well as life-threatening.
“An ectopic pregnancy can cause your fallopian tube to burst open. Without treatment, the ruptured tube can lead to life-threatening bleeding,” the MAYO Clinic states on its website.
Under Seitz’s bill, individuals who provide someone with abortion medication to terminate an ectopic pregnancy could be charged with a class A felony, including doctors or other medical personnel. Individuals who are convicted of class A felonies face a minimum of 10 years in prison, and can even be sentenced to a lifetime behind bars.
Seitz has promoted harsher sentences for individuals who help others access abortion procedures. In a debate on his bill, the Republican lawmaker said that he believes the penalties laid out in his proposal were not “strict enough.” When asked if he backed the death penalty for those providing abortion drugs, Seitz answered, “we’ll have to look at that in other legislation.”
There is currently a slew of anti-abortion measures being considered by the state’s Republican-controlled legislature—including an amendment that is attached to many bills that would allow individuals to sue others who help facilitate abortions for Missouri residents, even if those abortions take place out of state. Rep. Mary Elizabeth Coleman’s (R) proposal would let people sue everyone from the doctor to the staffer scheduling the appointment.
Olivia Cappello, the press officer for state media campaigns at Planned Parenthood, has described Coleman’s proposal as “wild” and “bonkers.”
Copyright © Truthout.org. Reprinted with permission.