by J.D. Davidson
An Ohio bill that would penalize doctors who perform abortions and came under fire after its sponsor’s comments regarding rape drew more attention Tuesday following the leak of a draft of a pending U.S. Supreme Court decision.
House Bill 598 would ban doctors from performing medication or surgical abortions in Ohio, making it a fourth-degree felony. There is no exception for rape or incest. Doctors could, however, defend charges if an abortion was performed to save the life of the mother and specific steps were followed.
“I’m thrilled to see this legislation gaining momentum,” said the bill’s sponsor, Rep. Jean Schmidt, R-Loveland. “I was happy to provide sponsor testimony and look forward to rolling up my sleeves for further work.”
The legislation would serve as a “trigger ban,” according to Schmidt, meaning the provisions of the bill would automatically go into effect if the Supreme Court this summer overturns Roe v. Wade and allows states to make abortion law.
Currently, abortions are banned in Ohio after six weeks.
“Déjà vu. Yet again, Republicans are considering another extreme bill out of touch with reality that caters to the extreme fringes of their base. Reproductive health care is health care, period. Government should not intrude and interfere with any woman’s personal health care decisions made between themselves and their doctor,” said Rep. Lisa Sobecki, D-Toledo, and chairwoman of the Ohio Democratic Women’s Legislative Caucus.
If a reported Supreme Court draft ruling on a Mississippi case leaked to Politico is true, the court would reportedly overturn two landmark abortion cases, Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania v. Casey.
Schmidt came under fire last week when questioned during a hearing of the House Government Oversight Committee she said rape victims have an opportunity if they become pregnant.
“It is a shame that it happens, but there’s an opportunity for that woman, no matter how young or old she is, to make a determination about what she’s going to do to help that life be a productive human being,” Schmidt testified.
House Minority Whip Jessica E. Miranda, D-Forest Park, who recently disclosed she was sexually assaulted, called Schmidt’s comments appalling and insulting.
“Rep. Schmidt’s comments were incredibly disrespectful and insulting to survivors of sexual violence across Ohio, myself included,” Miranda said. “It is despicable that Republicans continue to give a platform to extreme anti-abortion bills that put the lives of Ohioans, especially women and survivors of rape and incest, in danger, but refuse to do anything to ensure justice for sexual assault survivors. We need to protect women and survivors, not rapists and pedophiles.”
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An Ohio native, J.D. Davidson is a veteran journalist with more than 30 years of experience in newspapers in Ohio, Georgia, Alabama and Texas. He has served as a reporter, editor, managing editor and publisher. Davidson is a regional editor for The Center Square.