The debate in the Florida Senate over an abortion bill included Sen. Annette Taddeo describing her own “tough situation” that required a procedure to save her life: an ectopic pregnancy.
An ectopic pregnancy occurs when the fertilized egg implants itself outside the uterus. Left untreated, it can cause a life-threatening rupture.
“It’s a fetus growing, but it’s not ever going to be a baby that’s going to be born,” Taddeo said, as Democratic Sen. Lori Berman held her hand and she seemed to hesitate to find the words.
Taddeo was introducing an amendment that asked to drop the bill’s requirement for two doctors to sign off on an abortion for a fatal fetal abnormality beyond 15 weeks after last menstruation. It was part of Wednesday’s lengthy debate on legislation (CS/HB 5) that would be the biggest change to a woman’s right to an abortion in Florida since Roe v. Wade.
“I did have to go through the excruciating pain of having to go to the hospital, having to get a procedure, having to get all the things in order,” Taddeo said. “And I just can’t imagine having to go through this situation and having to not just get your doctor to sign something about the necessity of the procedure, but then having to go to a second doctor.”
During debate, Sen. Tina Polsky said that she too had suffered the same experience.
Treating an ectopic pregnancy is considered an emergency and treatment involves administering methotrexate, so the fertilized egg stops growing. This treatment is not recommended for pregnancies that are further than nine weeks along.
Republican Sen. Kelli Stargel, who is sponsoring the 15-week ban, said an ectopic pregnancy does not require two doctors to sign off on the procedure.
“That’s not actually a pregnancy in their uterus,” she said. “An ectopic pregnancy is something that’s very serious and if left untreated would cause an emergency and an emergency does only require one doctor.”
Still, Taddeo pointed out that no other medical procedure requires two doctors sign off on it. Democratic Sen. Loranne Ausley said she represents 10 rural counties without a single obstetrician/gynecologist in them.
The amendment failed with 23 against it and 15 for it.