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Government/Politics

An abortion bill similar to the controversial new Texas law proposed in Ohio

dewine_signs_heartbeat_bill__credit_dan_konik_.jpg
Daniel Konik
/
Statehouse News Bureau
Gov. Mike DeWine signs "heartbeat bill" in 2019

It's been introduced in the Ohio House and already has support from more than a third of lawmakers there.

A version of the controversial abortion law passed in Texas and now before the U.S. Supreme Court might be coming to Ohio. Statehouse correspondent Jo Ingles reports a bill to establish a similar but stricter measure has been introduced in the Ohio Legislature.

More than a third of the Ohio House - including half of all Republican representatives - have signed on to sponsor a bill that goes further than the one in Texas and bans all abortions. It also would allow anyone to sue a doctor performing abortions and fine them $10,000 per procedure.

Rep. Jena Powell (R-Arcanum), a co-sponsor of the bill, says it uses “the enforcement mechanism from the successful Texas Heartbeat Act.” Linda Theia, president of the Right to Life Action Coalition, says “This will be a major step towards ending abortion in Ohio."

NARAL ProChoice Ohio's Kellie Copeland says this bill would be enforced by deputizing a posse of anti-abortion vigilantes, motivated by $10,000 bounties. Copeland says that's especially scary because abortion providers in Ohio are already being terrorized and threatened. She says this will add fuel to that dangerous fire.

The Texas law this bill is modeled after was upheld by the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. But Ohio’s so-called “heartbeat bill” has been on hold since it was challenged in federal court in July 2019.