Republican lawmakers in Ohio want to repeat the abortion ban passed in Texas and face a challenge in the U.S. Supreme Court.
House Bill 480, introduced Tuesday, would allow anyone to sue a doctor who performs an abortion, or someone who “helps or promotes” an abortion. Anyone who performs or assists with an abortion can risk a fine of at least $ 10,000 per month.
The bill contains a broad definition of abortion, including a ban on administering, acquiring or selling any instrument, medicine or medicine to terminate a pregnancy. The proposal would add the language to Ohio law: “All human beings are created equal and by their creator are endowed with certain inalienable rights; among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”
The bill goes a step further than Texas law by banning all abortions instead of just those after a fetal heartbeat is detected.
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Sponsors of the bill – reps. Jena Powell, R-Arcanum, and Thomas Hall, R-Madison Township – call the bill the “2363 Act” for the number of abortions performed daily in America. In 2018, 619,591 abortions were reported to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or nearly 1,698 a day, according to the latest report.
More than 20,000 abortions were performed in Ohio last year, according to a report from the Ohio Department of Health.
“The sanctity of human life, born and born, must be preserved in Ohio,” Powell said in a statement. “Abortion kills children, scars families and harms women. We can and must do better.”
Kellie Copeland, CEO of NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio, said she was concerned that such a law would replace “anti-abortion vigilantes” in the state. A Madison County man was recently sentenced to 20 months in prison for posting death threats on social media for a nonprofit abortion support group.
“We know when things are criminalized, black people, colored women and non-binary people are the ones who are most under control,” Copeland said. “Other people who have the money will find a way to escape from Ohio to get the care they need.”
Rep. Lisa Sobecki, D-Toledo, said lawmakers should focus on ways to help families, such as improving access to affordable child care, rather than banning abortions in the state. But she is not surprised that Republicans presented this bill.
“It was really just a matter of time before the Republicans introduced legislation like Texas,” Sobecki said.
The proposal, which has 33 Republican co-sponsors, is backed by the Right to Life Action Coalition and Created Equal, which often share graphic images of aborted fetuses on posters. Ohio Right to Life President Mike Gonidakis said he was reviewing the legislation. He said the organization is “laser-focused” on passing a trigger law banning abortion in the state if the landmark case Roe v. Wade is overturned.
More:Some Supreme Court justices who are skeptical of Texas abortion laws affect other rights
The Texas law, which has effectively ended abortions in the state in the midst of a legal challenge, was revised by the U.S. Supreme Court on Monday. It is unclear how quickly the court could decide.
Jessie Balmert is a reporter for the United States TODAY Network Ohio Bureau, which serves the Akron Beacon Journal, the Cincinnati Enquirer, the Columbus Dispatch and 18 other affiliated news organizations across Ohio.