Anti-abortion lawmakers in the state of Pennsylvania will make it a crime for failing to write a death certificate for a fertilized egg.
The bill defines fetal death as happening anywhere in the pregnancy, starting from conception.
Doctors must write death certificates for miscarriages, abortions, and fertilized eggs that fail to implant in the uterus. Anyone who fails to do so will be subject to a fine of $50-$300, or up to 30 days in jail time.
The bill, “Pennsylvania Final Disposition of Fetal Remains Act,” is modeled after legislation passed by Vice President Mike Pence when he was Indiana governor. The Supreme Court upheld this legislation for Indiana this year. The two lead sponsors—and all but two of the cosponsors—are Republican.
The legislation does not account for the science of the reproductive cycle. It is very difficult for doctors to detect when a fertilized egg does not implant since the egg is shed along with the uterine lining.
Only half of the fertilized eggs a woman will have in her lifetime will implant in her uterus, according to the University of California San Francisco Health. Fertilized eggs are no larger than the head of a pin.
The only time a fertilized egg is detectable is when it is in the fallopian tubes. At that point, doctors must remove it to prevent severe complications.