OHIO WEATHER

Abortion rights at stake in Ohio


COLUMBUS, Ohio — Republicans at the Ohio Statehouse want abortion to be banned in Ohio, the moment Roe vs. the U.S. Supreme Court ever overturned Wade.


What You Need To Know

  • House Bill 598 is also called “The Human Life Protection Act”
  • Republican State Rep. Jean Schmidt, R-Loveland, the sponsor of HB 598, testified in front of the Ohio House Government Oversight Committee on Wednesday
  • The bill would make it a fourth-degree felony for doctors to perform abortions should the U.S. Supreme Court overturn Roe v. Wade
  • If charged, doctors could defend themselves by saying they did the abortion to save the life of the mother with proper documentation

Republican State Rep. Jean Schmidt, R-Loveland, the sponsor of House Bill 598, also called “The Human Life Protection Act,” testified in front of the Ohio House Government Oversight Committee during its first hearing Wednesday. 

“The time has come for Ohio to truly stand up for the rights of the unborn,” Schmidt said.

The bill would make it a fourth-degree felony for doctors to perform abortions should the U.S. Supreme Court overturn Roe v. Wade. It would not cover exceptions for rape or incest.

“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,” said Schmidt.

If charged, doctors could defend themselves by saying they did the abortion to save the life of the mother with proper documentation. ​State Rep. Beth Liston, D-Dublin, a doctor, said the bill is unclear about the definition of danger.

“I’m going to tell you, doctors are really uncomfortable with the idea of going to jail for doing what they think is best, but they’d have to prove in a court of law at every step,” said Liston.

The same bill was introduced in the Ohio Senate last year and has had two hearings, but it has not had a vote.

A decision from the U.S. Supreme Court on Mississippi’s abortion ban after 15 weeks is expected this summer. Ohio’s lawmakers want to make their bill more clear that if the court does not completely ban abortion, then neither would this bill.

“If all the Supreme Court does is say a 15-week abortion ban is permissible for a state to impose, you would not use that decision to trigger the effective date for a bill which would ban all abortions save for those necessary to save the life of the mother,” said Ohio House Majority Floor Leader Bill Seitz, R-Green Township.

Those against abortion said they are excited about the future of the state.

“We are more than excited for this historic moment. Ever since 1973 when Roe versus Wade was the decision was made in the United States Supreme Court we’ve been working hard, diligently, day in and day out, to have this day come to pass and so we are so excited and more than ready to ban abortion in the state of Ohio,” said Ohio Right To Life director of communications Elizabeth Whitmarsh. ​​

Abortion rights activists​ said the legislature should focus on other pressing needs.

“What we’re seeing today is Republican legislators, Jean Schmidt at the helm, attacking access to health care and were really looking at abortion could be banned in Ohio as early as this summer. And that impact, the impact that will have on Ohioans is dire,” said NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio Policy Director Jaime Miracle.



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