Tell Chattanooga Times Free Press that abortion trigger law raises concerns for patient care
TRM’s co-founders Dr. Jessica Scotchie and Dr. Rink Murray are featured in the Chattanooga Times Free Press as they share their concerns with Tennessee’s new “trigger law.” The law, called the Human Life Protection Act, deems any action to terminate a pregnancy a felony punishable by up to 15 years in prison, unless it’s to remove a dead fetus or deliver a baby prematurely to increase the child’s chance of survival.
There are major gray areas centered around how prosecutors will view abortions for ectopic pregnancies when there’s a heartbeat because the law defines pregnancy as “having a living unborn child within her body,” rather than “within the uterus.”
“There’s a lot of ectopics you can’t see on ultrasound, but if you can’t see it, you can’t prove it doesn’t have a heartbeat,” said Dr. Murray. “The way the law is written, you have to prove your innocence, so my worry is that will delay someone getting treatment.”
Due to this new law, some providers are afraid to treat ectopic pregnancies unless the woman is bleeding internally, meaning the pregnancy is ruptured and her life is in immediate danger. Dr. Scotchie explained that the law places Chattanooga providers in a difficult position where some have to send their patients to other states for proper treatment.
“Women will be harmed from this, and – as a result of having to potentially wait to receive treatment until their life is in danger – be subjected to more surgery, more loss of their reproductive organs, hemorrhage, transfusion and loss of future fertility,” said Dr. Scotchie.