Bill introduced banning all abortions in Ohio with lone exception for life of mother

Ohio’s current ‘heartbeat bill’ permits abortions into about the sixth week of pregnancy.
Ohio Statehouse
Ohio Statehouse(Provided)
Published: Jul. 11, 2022 at 6:14 PM EDT
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COLUMBUS, Ohio (WXIX) - Ohio Republicans have introduced a bill into the House of Representatives outlawing all abortions in the state with the only exception being when the life of the mother is endangered.

The text of House Bill 704 requires Ohio to recognize the personhood and protect the constitutional rights “of all unborn human individuals from the moment of conception.”

The three-sentence bill, dubbed “The Personhood Act,” does not specify what “conception” means—whether it happens at fertilization or implantation—leaving in doubt the status of certain contraceptives such as Plan B.

State Rep. Gary Click (R-Vickery) introduced the bill Monday with seven co-sponsors, including Tri-State lawmakers Jennifer Gross (R-West Chester) and Thomas Hall (R-Madison Township).

MORE | Cincinnati mayor announces new legislation following Roe v. Wade ruling

Currently abortions in Ohio are prohibited only after cardiac activity is found, or around six weeks into pregnancy. Exceptions exist when the life of the mother is endangered, but there is no rape or incest exception, and the bill expressly prohibits abortions performed in response to genetic anomalies.

Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost filed a motion to dissolve a federal injunction against Ohio’s so-called “Heartbeat Bill” hours after the U.S. Supreme Court delivered its decision in Dobbs v. Jackson on June 24That decision overturned Roe v. Wade and Casey v. Planned Parenthood, the landmark precedents governing abortion access in the United States for the last 50 years.

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine last week described as a “tragedy” the situation of a 10-year-old Ohio girl who had to travel to Indiana for an abortion after being raped, according to our media partners at the Enquirer. The girl was reportedly blocked from obtaining an abortion in Ohio because she was six weeks and three days pregnant.

Prior to Dobbs, the 1992 SCOTUS decision in Casey guaranteed a national right to abortions into the 22nd week of pregnancy, or the viability stage at which the fetus can survive outside the womb. Dobbs dispensed with that framework and left all decisions to the states, more than a dozen of which enacted so-called “trigger laws” immediately upon the decision’s publication.

The Personhood Act would place Ohio in line with Kentucky, which had a trigger law on the books prior to the Dobbs decision that now prohibits abortions at all stages of gestation with the only exception being when the life of the mother is endangered.

Indiana did not have a trigger law prior to Dobbs, so abortions remain legal there until 20 weeks after fertilization. Indiana lawmakers will meet in a special session at the end of July to address abortion access.

Also Monday, according to AP, the Biden administration told hospitals that they “must” provide abortion services if the life of the mother is at risk, saying federal law on emergency treatment guidelines preempts state laws in jurisdictions that now ban the procedure without any exceptions following the Supreme Court’s decision to end a constitutional right to abortion.

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