Ohio lawmakers have introduced new anti-abortion bill.
Republican Ohio Reps. Jena Powell and Thomas Hall have introduced harsher legislation in the state House that could effectively end all abortions in the state. The measure comes after the U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments on a Texas law, which the Ohio lawmakers referenced in drafting one for their state and cited that the majority of justices would allow abortion providers to initiate a court challenge to the law.
Essentially, if passed, all clinicians (and non-clinicians) who facilitate abortions could be subjected to substantial financial penalties should lawsuits be brought against them, and the measure would be very hard to challenge. Even if the patient provided informed consent, this would not be a sufficient defense.
A dozen states, including Ohio, have already enforced bans on abortion in early in pregnancy. However, the Texas law was the first in the U.S. to take this one step further and impose harsher penalties for performing these procedures. Eighteen states have suggested they would support the ban on most abortions if the U.S. Supreme Court upheld it as constitutional.
Powell said in a statement, “The enforcement mechanism from the successful Texas law, which was upheld by the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, is necessary since the constitutional fiction of Roe v. Wade has prevented communities from protecting our youngest children for the past fifty years.”
Roe v. Wade, 410 U.S. 113, was a landmark U.S. Supreme Court case in which the Court decided the U.S. Constitution protects a pregnant woman’s ability to choose to have an abortion without excessive government restriction. The decision supported the right to choose until a fetus reaches “viability.”
Texas’s abortion bill, called the Heartbeat Bill, bans abortion after six weeks, which directly contradicts Roe v. Wade, and allows private citizens to file lawsuits in state court against anyone who helps a pregnant woman terminate the pregnancy. The law awards them a minimum of $10,000 plus attorneys’ fees in pursuing a suit, and the Texan law states that, should the defendant be an abortion provider (i.e., clinician or medical personnel), the court must shut down that clinic.
So far, nearly three dozen Ohio lawmakers have signed onto the harsher guidelines. And yet, those who believe in the right to choose called it extreme. Lila Rose, founder and president of LiveAction, said this is “the beginning of the end of legally sanctioned abortions in America.” Right to Life Action Coalition president Linda Theis stated it is “a major step toward ending the procedure.” Adrienne Kimmell, acting president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, called Ohio’s bill “dystopian,” adding, “The SB 8 domino effect is well under way and will only continue to escalate in cruelty as long as the Supreme Court allows Texas’ blatantly unconstitutional law to stand.”
Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley, a Democratic candidate for governor, said she would do away with the bill should she be elected, stating, that it effectively promotes underground pregnancy termination and puts women at risk. Whaley stated, “This dangerous bill would criminalize abortion and encourage vigilantism in our state. Ohio deserves better than this anti-abortion extremism.”