Report: Science Behind Ohio’s Ectopic Pregnancy Bill Based On Article From 1917

Darren.Woon

Following a critique of his bill by a Maryland geneticist, Becker claimed he relied on a scientific article from 1917.

Ohio State Rep. John Becker proposed legislation that would extend insurance coverage to a procedure considered medically impossible and relied on an article from 1917 to support it, according to WOSU Public Media

Newly released emails show that Rep. Becker, with the help of Barry Sheets, a lobbyist for the Right to Life Action Coalition of Ohio, drafted the bill which has since drawn international scrutiny.

The bill would prohibit insurers from covering abortion services, but would probide an exception for a procedure “intended to reimplant” an ectopic pregnancy in a woman’s uterus.

After a Maryland geneticist questioned the scientific grounding of the journals Becker used to defend the provision, it was discovered that one was from 1980 and the other was from 1917.

“These ‘case reports’ are published in major medical journals, which one would have to assume are peer-reviewed for medical accuracy (verified) before being published,” Sheets wrote in an email to Becker.

Sheets responded to the geneticist’s concerns: “The ‘side-effects’ are that the embryo was carried to full-term and a baby was given birth to, according to the ‘case reports.’ What are the ‘side-effects’ on the current treatment for ectopic pregnancies on the embryo? Oh, that’s right -- death.”

Becker told The Cincinnati Enquirer that he hadn’t seen the two studies until after the news outlet requested examples of research in May and now acknowledges that there’s no standard operating procedure for reimplanting ectopic pregnancies. 

“But these are documented,” he told the newspaper, failing to accept his role in spreading misinformation. “They should get the medical journals corrected if this is wrong.”

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