A new bill outlaws all abortions and subjects medical professionals who facilitate in the procedure to possible murder charges.
This bill legally recognizes a fetus as a human. It would remove all authorizations for abortions in to take place in Ohio. The legislation, which is being sponsored by 21 of the 99 Ohio House members, is championed by the Right to Life Action Coalition of Ohio. And it is meant to challenge Roe v Wade, the landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion in 1973.
Under this bill, a whistle-blower provision provides affirmative defense to those who help law enforcement officers investigate abortions. A woman who has received an abortion could provide facts for the prosecution to help convict medical professionals involved in the procedure in an effort to mitigate or defeat criminal charges brought against her.
This is not the first time a complete abortion ban has been proposed in the Ohio Legislature. A similar ban was proposed in 2018 but it didn't get enough traction to pass. Questions have been raised about whether a ban like this could lead to a woman who has had a miscarriage being arrested and getting charged.
Supporters of legal abortion plan to fight this bill. And if it were to pass, legal challenges would be mounted against it. But many abortion opponents say that's what they want. They think the U.S. Supreme Court, which now has a majority of conservative justices, will reverse course on Roe v Wade.
Earlier this week, Democratic House Member Stephanie Howse (D-Cleveland) embarked on a trip to El Salvador with lawmakers from a handful of anti-abortion states to experience what life is like in a country that has an abortion ban.