Dr. Christina Francis wants women and doctors to know that pro-life laws do not put anyone’s lives at risk.
In a new interview with The Federalist, Francis, an OB-GYN in Indiana, refuted false claims that abortion bans somehow stop doctors from treating miscarriages and ectopic pregnancies and explained why some people appear to be confused about the matter.
“There is a difference, legally and medically, between an abortion and treatment for miscarriage or ectopic pregnancy,” said Francis, the CEO-elect of the American Association of Pro-life Obstetricians and Gynecologists.
And the pro-life laws that are in effect in about a dozen states right now recognize the difference. These laws only ban elective abortions, meaning procedures or medications provided with the intent to end the life of a baby in the womb, she told The Federalist.
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The same is not true of treatment for ectopic pregnancies and miscarriages, Francis explained.
“In the case of an ectopic pregnancy, which is life-threatening due to the risk of severe hemorrhage, we are intervening to save the mother’s life, but we do not intend the death of the embryo,” she said. “In fact, the procedures typically used to treat an ectopic pregnancy are different than those used for elective abortions.”
Francis said some of the confusion and misinformation may arise from the fact that medical professionals use the word “abortion” for both miscarriages and elective abortions.
The medical term for any pregnancy that ends prior to 20 weeks is “abortion.” However, in medicine, we use a modifier to indicate how that pregnancy ended. So, a miscarriage is a “spontaneous abortion,” meaning the preborn baby passed away on her own, without anyone causing her death. The term “induced abortion” is how we code procedures where someone (like an abortion provider) has caused the death of the preborn child through medication or procedure. This is what is being referred to when the general public discusses abortion, and this is what legislators are discussing when they discuss restricting abortion.
Others may be confused about the surgical procedures dilation and curettage (D&C) and dilation and evacuation (D&E), which can be used both to kill unborn babies and to treat miscarriages, she added.
“However, laws that restrict abortions do not ban procedures, they ban how those procedures are used:” to kill unborn babies in induced abortions, Francis said.
She expressed concern that the misunderstandings and misinformation are putting women’s lives at risk.
“Any doctor or physician that claims they cannot treat a woman experiencing a miscarriage or ectopic pregnancy or hesitates to do so is committing medical malpractice,” Francis told The Federalist. “They are putting women in extreme danger and should be held accountable for doing so.”
Lies and misleading information about pro-life laws have been propagated by abortion activists and pro-abortion politicians since news broke about the U.S. Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade this summer. The truth is that all pro-life laws allow treatment for ectopic pregnancies, miscarriages and abortions when the mother’s life is at risk.
Dr. John Bruchalski, a pro-life OB-GYN in Virginia and former abortionist, also recently confirmed that abortion bans do not stop doctors from providing essential medical care to women.
“The Dobbs decision does not affect treatment for miscarriages or ectopic pregnancies,” he wrote. “It affects elective abortions. They are two different things. We are in a war of words and definitions … and hearts.”
Daniel Gump, a technical writer, software developer and pro-life advocate, recently conducted an in-depth analysis of state abortion laws to check abortion activists’ claims about ectopic pregnancy and miscarriage treatments.
His research, which attorneys have verified, found wide-spread explicit exceptions in abortion bans that allow for these medical treatments.
When it comes to miscarriages, Gump said laws that ban or restrict abortion only “apply when the unborn child is alive during the act (induced abortion), but often those outside the medical industry
erroneously conflate similar procedures performed after the unborn child has already died of a miscarriage (spontaneous abortion) …”
Much like with miscarriages, “ectopic pregnancies are not treated with induced abortions, but often those outside the medical industry erroneously conflate the two,” according to his research.
A fact check from the Charlotte Lozier Institute came to the same conclusions, with researchers pointing out that pro-life laws protect both mom and baby and “pregnant women’s lives are protected in all states.”
Even the U.S. Food and Drug Administration states that chemical abortions, or abortion drugs, cannot treat an ectopic pregnancy, Francis pointed out in a previous interview.
“I’ve never needed to perform an elective abortion, and yet I’ve been able to take care of women with ectopic pregnancies and miscarriages throughout my career,” she said at the time.