Republican lawmakers in Ohio introduced a bill Thursday that would end entirely the practice of abortion in the state and charge doctors who perform abortions of any kind with murder.
House Bill 413 was introduced and sponsored by Reps. Ron Hood (R-Ashville) and Candice Keller (R-Middletown), and has 19 Republican cosponsors. The bill’s introduction comes after a federal judge blocked the state’s heartbeat bill from taking effect while a lawsuit against it makes its way through the courts.
“This has been the goal of the grassroots of the pro-life movement since the disastrous Roe decision of 1973,” Margie Christie, president of the Right to Life Action Coalition of Ohio, said in a press release. “We are proud to stand with the co-sponsors in working to reach the goal of protecting the life and health of every mother and child in Ohio.”
The bill seeks to legally recognize an unborn child as a person with full legal protections while subjecting “any provider performing an abortion by any method” to the “already existing murder statutes.”
There would be protections, however, for doctors who perform life-saving procedures on pregnant women and unintentionally terminate the pregnancy in the process.
A final goal of the bill is to establish whistleblower protections for those who help law enforcement officers investigate abortions.
“The time for regulating evil and compromise is over. The time has come to abolish abortion in its entirety and recognize that each individual has the inviolable and inalienable right to life,” said Keller. “Only respect for life can be the foundation of a free society that supports peace, justice and integrity.”
Meg Wittman, chair of the Right to Life Action Coalition of Ohio’s Legislative Committee, said the most important aspect of the bill is its “recognition that unborn children are human beings from conception and should be afforded the equal protection of our laws.”
“Up until this point, legislators have only regulated abortion,” added Hood. “They have decided which classes of people have a right to life by creating exceptions to abortion, which is tantamount to creating exceptions to premeditated murder. In our society, killing defenseless human beings is always classified as murder.”
House Minority Leader Emilia Strong Sykes (D-Akron) responded to the “extreme abortion ban” in a Friday statement.
“This latest abortion ban from extreme, right-wing lawmakers is the most brazen and absurd attempt yet to deny Ohio women their fundamental freedoms, to interfere with the patient-doctor relationship and disproportionately target communities of color across Ohio,” she said, calling the bill an “unconstitutional political stunt” that “abuses taxpayer money.”
“In the past week, we’ve seen extremist lawmakers pass multiple anti-science bills to score political points, restrict our freedoms and expand big government into our most private conversations with our healthcare providers,” she continued. “Democrats unequivocally reject this proposal and urge our colleagues across the aisle to put aside this latest extreme, ideological proposal to work together on growing good paying jobs and restoring Ohio’s promise of opportunity for all.”
NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio Executive Director Kellie Copeland said the “medically dubious regulation” seeks to “outlaw abortion and strip Ohioans of their reproductive freedoms.”
“Ohioans won’t surrender their bodily autonomy to these extremists,” she added.
The bill was referred to the House Criminal Justice Committee Monday for a hearing.
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