Today, the Ohio House of Representatives is holding a hearing on a bill that would outlaw all abortion in the state, without any exceptions, including when a woman’s life is at stake. This bill is even more extreme than the recently passed South Dakota ban, which did contain a life exception. Proposed by State Rep. Tom Brinkman (R), House Bill 228 would also make it a felony for anyone to take a woman out of Ohio to obtain an abortion in another state. Abortion-rights advocates and opponents alike see the bill as an attempt to overturn Roe v. Wade, with Brinkman saying that although the bill was introduced a year ago, “we didn’t have the vacancies on the US Supreme Court,” reports the Akron Beacon-Journal.
The legislation is not expected to pass, reports the Columbus Dispatch, as even Republican lawmakers do not consider it a priority for the party, and doubt there will be support for it as currently written. Nonetheless, abortion-rights advocates are taking it seriously. Members of the Freedom of Choice Ohio coalition are staging a protest outside the statehouse, and many will be testifying this afternoon. NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio executive director Kellie Copeland, who will testify against the legislation today, told the Dispatch “It’s shocking to me to propose legislation that says to another human being, ÔYou don’t have the right to health care that could save your life.'”
The Cincinnati Enquirer contacted the gubernatorial candidates about the bill, asking whether they would sign such a measure into law. Republican Ken Blackwell, also the current Secretary of State, said that he would support the law with amendments that would protect current abortion restrictions if HB 228 was overturned in court. Ted Strickland, Democratic candidate and current US Representative, said he would not support House Bill 228, which he called “extreme and unconstitutional legislation that would criminalize all abortions, including cases where the life of the mother is in jeopardy.”