Columbus — On Wednesday, December 13, the Ohio General Assembly could be voting on any number of abortion bans currently moving in the legislature.
NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio Executive Director Kellie Copeland said: “We can drop all the pretense — the bills being promoted by anti-choice extremists are not looking to protect the interest of Ohioans. All of these proposals are unconstitutional bans on safe and legal abortion care. Once a woman has made the decision to end a pregnancy, she needs access to safe and legal health care in her community, not interference from the state legislature.”
“Attorney General Mike DeWine should send a clear message to this Ohio Legislature: spending hundreds of thousands of dollars defending unconstitutional attacks on abortion bans will no longer be tolerated. AG DeWine should put a stop to this now and pledge to not waste tax payer funds defending these continued attacks on abortion access. Unfortunately DeWine has a track record of wasting tax payer money not only defending unconstitutional bills in Ohio, but attempting to block access to abortion in other states as well.”
Last week, the Ohio House Health Committee reported SB 164, one of two Down syndrome abortion bans under consideration. This bill is expected to be on the House floor for a vote Wednesday. Interestingly, the Ohio Senate is also poised to report HB 214, the House version of the Down syndrome abortion ban in Senate Health, Human Services, and Medicaid committee Tuesday afternoon. It could be on the Senate floor for a vote Wednesday.
Additionally, the House Health Committee could send the six-week abortion ban, HB 258, to the House Floor with a committee vote scheduled for Wednesday morning. Although it is not scheduled for a vote, a fourth abortion related bill, SB 28, will have proponent testimony in the Senate Government Oversight and Reform committee on Tuesday afternoon. Each of these bills has been ruled unconstitutional in at least one other state (see list below).
State Representative Nickie Antonio recently asked LSC to estimate how much HB 258 could cost the state in legal fees if passed. That analysis is available on the committee website.
These are the unconstitutional abortion ban bills that could receive floor votes in the Ohio House and Senate next week:
Senate Bill 145 — The Abortion Method Ban
Blocked in Kansas by Shawnee County District Court Judge Larry Hendricks on June 30, 2015
Blocked in Oklahoma by Oklahoma District Court Judge Patricia Parrish on October 14, 2015
Blocked in Arkansas by U.S. District Court Judge Kristine Baker on July 28, 2017
Blocked in Alabama by U.S. District Court Judge Myron Thompson on October 26, 2017
Blocked in Texas by U.S. District Court Judge Lee Yeakel on November 22, 2017
Method bans like this one put women at risk. The method at issue in this case — commonly referred to as dilation and evacuation (D&E) — is the safest and most effect method most commonly used by the medical community. Doctors and major medical groups like the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists oppose this ban.
Senate Bill 164 & House Bill 214 — Down Syndrome Abortion Ban
Blocked in Indiana by U.S. District Judge Tanya Walton Pratt on September 25, 2017
This bill prevents a woman from having honest conversations about her options with her physician—especially following a complicated medical diagnosis. This legislation criminalizes those important conversations and callously disregards the unique circumstances that surround each woman’s pregnancy.
House Bill 258 — Six-Week Abortion Ban
Blocked in North Dakota by U.S. District Judge Daniel Hovland on April 16, 2014. North Dakota appealed to the US Supreme Court, which chose to let the lower court ruling stand on January 25, 2016.
Blocked in Arkansas by U.S. District Judge Susan Weber on March 14, 2014.
This bill would block access to nearly all abortions in Ohio. By banning abortion at the point where a fetal heartbeat can be detected (which is as early as six weeks into a pregnancy) this bill flies in the face of Roe v. Wade. An identical proposal was vetoed by Gov. John Kasich in December 2016.
Additionally Senate Bill 28, a restriction on how abortion clinics dispose of fetal tissue will have proponent testimony in the Senate Government Oversight and Reform committee on Tuesday afternoon. This restriction is also unconstitutional. A similar restriction was passed in Indiana in 2016 in an omnibus bill with the state’s Down syndrome abortion ban. Both the fetal tissue restrictions and the Down syndrome ban were blocked by the same court decision by U.S. District Judge Tanya Walton Pratt on September 25, 2017.