Women who miscarry in Ohio will now be given propaganda intended to coerce women into giving birth, and face a 24-hour waiting period to think it over.

This is part of the same amendment that will require an ultrasound before birth control. In addition to redefining “pregnancy”, it also redefines “medical emergency”.

What to expect when you have pregnancy complications

Except in very narrow circumstances (see below), your OB-GYN will face criminal penalties if you aren’t subjected to the ICMS (Informed-Consent Mansplaining and Shaming) before he treats your miscarriage. The ICMS is generally bad enough; when you face a life-or-death decision, the ICMS is psychological torture.

If you are forced to terminate a wanted pregnancy due to a complication to your health or a fetal abnormality,

  • you will be informed the probable gestational age of the fetus and the medical risks associated with carrying to term
  • you will have to sign a form saying that you consent to the procedure “voluntarily, knowingly, intelligently, and without coercion by any person, and that [you are] not under the influence of any drug1 or alcohol”
  • you will be given a pamphlet that informs you of “the probable anatomical and physiological characteristics” of a healthy fetus at this stage of development.
  • you will be given another ultrasound (externally)
  • you will be given, in writing:
    • confirmation that the fetus has a heartbeat
    • The statistical probability of bringing a healthy fetus of this gestational age to term

Everybody gets the same pamphlet, produced by the Ohio Department of Health. Women who have cancer will be given the probability of a healthy woman giving birth. Women with anencephalic pregnancies will be given the probability of delivering a healthy baby.

John Kasich refused to veto a law that tries to convince women to sacrifice their lives bringing a doomed pregnancy to term.

John Kasich is just optimistic that you’ll pull through

Until yesterday, Ohio law allowed exceptions to the informed consent rigamarole in the event of “an immediate threat of serious risk to the… physical health of the woman from the continuation of the pregnancy.” While this verbiage wasn’t necessarily ideal, it was broad enough that doctors could practice appropriately.

With Kasich’s signature of the budget, physicians can only avoid the mandatory ultrasound “in order to prevent the death of the pregnant woman or to avoid a serious risk of the substantial and irreversible impairment of a major bodily function of the pregnant woman that delay in the performance or inducement of the abortion would create.”

Section 2919.16(K) spells out that the conditions allowing for immediate abortion:

includes pre-eclampsia, inevitable abortion, and premature rupture of the membranes, may include, but is not limited to, diabetes and multiple sclerosis, and does not include a condition related to the woman’s mental health.

These rules are incredibly narrow. Let’s compare that to Valerie Tarico’s great piece at RH Reality Check listing some possible pregnancy complications:

The list of possible complications that can maim or kill goes on and on: anemia, arrhythmia, brainstem infarction, broken tailbone or ribs, cardiopulmonary arrest, diastasis recti, eclampsia, embolism, exacerbation of epilepsy, immunosuppression, infection, gestational diabetes, gestational trophoblastic disease, hemorrhage, hypoxemia, increased intracranial pressure, mitral valve stenosis, obstetric fistula, placental abruption, postpartum depression, prolapsed uterus, severe scarring, increased spousal abuse, third or fourth degree laceration,  thrombocytopenic purpura, peripartum cardiomyopathy, and more.

I’ve bolded the conditions where the abortion can be performed without hesitation, and italicized the one where it can maybe(?) be performed. The fact that the law expressly permits it for pre-eclampsia and gestational diabetes strongly implies that doctors will face charges in all other circumstances.

Before the passage of the budget, a number of OB-GYNs protested this provision. In the past, they’ve testified that it would make them hesitate before treating women. This is consciously modeled after the Irish law that resulted in the death of Savita Halappanavar.

John Kasich knew this provision was in the budget; he got 17,000 letters that asked him to remove it. He did not care. Ohio’s doctors will be legally required to try to convince women to continue a pregnancy that is likely to kill them, because John Kasich does not like women. 2014 can’t come soon enough.


1 It’s not clear what happens if you’ve been given medication for your condition. You can’t have an abortion until you sign this form…

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  • jr6020

    So what are the chances these new laws can withstand legal challenges?

  • Hanhnibal

    Where’s the ACLU?

  • Terry Ganford

    If pregnancy now begins at fertilization, what does this mean for In-Vitro Fertilisation? Is IVF illegal since you would be freezing people?

  • CherMoe

    John Kasich needs to be aborted from the State of Ohio and banned from ever setting foot in this state again.

  • Robert Ruedisueli

    Except for one thing: Hormonal birth control prevents the releasing of an egg, and thus there is no fertilized egg.

  • Robert Ruedisueli

    The ACLU will be in there the moment someone tries to use this law in this manner.

  • Judy Jackson

    30% of pregnancies end in miscarriage.This is appalling.

  • Hanhnibal

    Some birth control prevents implantation of the egg once it’s been fertilized.

  • RealityBites

    Just more proof the republicans only want to eliminate a woman’s right to choose and don’t give a flying flip about women’s health.

  • zapper45701

    Where does it say, “It’s none of your business what I do with my vagina or uterus?” Oh, it doesn’t. Maybe some folks should try to stay out of them, then. People who want uncontrolled, unlimited access are usually thought of as rapists. I guess we know what to call the politicians who sign this bill.

  • Luke Brockmeier

    The echo effects (trickle-down effects?) of redefining “pregnancy” are very difficult to find. This section of law (ORC 2919.19) may or may not be referenced by other sections.

    ORC says things like “‘Physician’ has the same meaning as in Section 2919.16”. Any law that uses the 2919.19 meaning of “pregnancy” will be affected.

  • Can a woman be forced to have a vaginal ultrasound? Would that be some sort of forced sexual contact? Soon the Republicans will outlaw all forms of birth control so women will be baby making machines, just like the GOP wants. The last thing Republicans want are outspoken, educated women challenging their draconian laws.

  • We’ll see more of “self-induced abortions” as described in this NIH report: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2791734/ But then again, Kasich knows where he likes his women: https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=0CAAHOQwdMA

  • buckeyekelly

    So if I’m reading this correctly, my doctor would have had to give me a pamphlet and make me wait instead of performing the salpingectomy to save my life this past January were this budget in place? The ectopic pregnancy that was threatening my life, would have had to wait? Or at least I get to hear about the odds?

  • Jason Miller

    Roughly 0%. Once one woman suffers damage or death from this, it will be slapped down faster than a fart in a breeze.

  • Jennifer Long

    I’m sorry, but an abortion (in the prolifer’s argument of women’s rights etc) is not a miscarriage (as in a sponateous abortion). In the true abortion sense, one should be forced to know what they are killing…a life, a baby, a person. They should have to see the heartbeat, the baby moving, etc. Let them make an INFORMED choice to kill that child.

    But, if this was a wanted pregnancy & its terminating itself, or the mother is going to die & it can’t be carried to term, then most of the information you are being “forced” to see or hear (baby has a heartbeat, “the probable anatomical and physiological characteristics”, etc) you probably already know. So, you’re being handed a pamphlet. Noone’s forcing you to read it. And I don’t see where it says a true emergency (get the kid out in the next hour or mom dies) is in any way handled differently based on this bill? As a mother of 4 living children, who has miscarried twice, I sympathize with those who must terminate their pregnancy, or miscarry, based on complications with the baby or their own medical life or death situation. I do not however understand the utter outrage over having to be told that a baby is dying, having to sign a consent form, having to know the risks of both sides of the coin (keeping or terminating). Those seem like pretty normal, logical and even typical medical situational type things. I mean, surgery requires consent, knowledge of risks involved, sometimes waiting periods.

  • Kay Suzanne

    This would be a good thing. Too many miscarriages are diagnosed too quickly. I had two misdiagnosed miscarriages and had to turn down the D&C twice. Personally, I really wish D&Cs were not performed until 10 weeks except when they are absolutely necessary.

  • Stacey Miner

    This is absolutely unacceptable. 2014 can’t come fast enough indeed.

  • Stacey Miner

    Unacceptable that a woman will have to suffer first.

  • Stacey Miner

    When I miscarried my first pregnancy, I underwent a procedure known as a D&C. I don’t remember what those initials technically stand for, but I do remember being told “It’s exactly the same procedure as an abortion.” Ironically, this took place in a religiously affiliated hospital. I was only 7 weeks along when it happened. I was told “the remains” would be taken to a shared plot and given a pamphlet about grieving and told I could visit the plot whenever I wanted. To me, it wasn’t even a thing, and yet it was being treated as if it had been a whole person already. I still get the impression that I was expected to feel something and that there’s something wrong with me because I didn’t and still don’t. Basically, other people’s beliefs were being pushed on me. It was awkward, a little uncomfortable, and that’s why the outrage.

  • dmoore2222

    Looks like old Johnny stepped in it again.

  • SiMoebus

    These people will never give up in turning the clock back to a time that never existed.

  • Sally Strange

    Let them make an INFORMED choice to kill that child.

    1. It really, really, really is not a child.

    2. Where on earth is anyone getting the idea that doctors are failing to inform their patients in the first place?

    I got an abortion in Vermont. There are no laws mandating any particular information be imparted. I was offered the choice to view an ultrasound and I did. It looked like a kidney bean. Is there ANY evidence to suggest that women DON’T know these things, or that doctors are NOT telling their patients these things? Just kidding, it’s a rhetorical question, I know there’s no evidence to suggest that. It’s an assumption that’s based on the sexist assumption that women in particular are less capable of learning and making decisions.

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