Abortion poster
The abortion debate still rages, years after Roe v. Wade. Image: termie/Flickr/CC BY-SA

Wednesday Ohio Governor John Kasich (R) signed into law a bill banning the abortion of any viable fetus after 20 weeks. Ohio becomes only the most recent of several states to ban late-term abortions. The ban ignores federal rulings under Roe v. Wade.

No contingencies for rape or incest

The Ohio legislation has no contingencies for rape or incest. In some cases, late term abortions would be allowed if a physician can prove in court that it was necessary to save the mother’s life. Doctors who ignore the new law could be jailed and lose their medical licenses.

Makes difficult bind for doctors and carriers

Reproductive health activist Elizabeth Nash described the difficult position the new law puts doctors and insurance carriers in.

“This is a big deal, in that it could have a real chilling effect on later abortions because there’s a potential to be thrust into the court system for providing an abortion after viability. It would be a huge burden for a provider to go through all of that and have to hire a lawyer to prove that you provided an abortion under the law.”

Denies a woman’s rights, some say

“This bill denies a woman her individual right,” said Senator Nina Turner (D). “It would be really nice if we, in the General Assembly, cared as much about children once they are birthed as we care about them when they are in the womb.”

Others see it as a triumph

Anti-abortion advocates see it as a triumph. Mike Gonidakis, executive director of Ohio Right to Life, said in a statement:

“By signing this critical pro-life legislation, Governor Kasich demonstrated to all Ohioans that the health and welfare of mothers and their unborn children are of paramount importance to the state of Ohio.”

Ohio follows other states

Nebraska passed a 20-week abortion ban in 2010. Alabama, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas and Oklahoma passed similar bills in 2011. Ohio becomes the latest to join them. Nnone of the bans have been challenged in federal court, but legal experts say it is only a matter of time, as all the bans directly violate the terms of the landmark 1973 Supreme Court decision, Roe v. Wade. That ruling prohibits any state from banning abortions before the fetus is viable. Under that ruling, fetus viability is placed at around seven months, or 28 weeks. In some cases, the ruling concedes, it can be as early as 24 weeks.

“This bill totally eliminates the notion of viability, and it pushes the ban way up into the first trimester, which is clearly unconstitutional,” said civil rights attorney Al Gerhadstein.

The ‘heartbeat’ bill

Ohio is also entertaining a new proposed bill, the “heartbeat” bill (HB 125), which would ban all abortions after a heartbeat can be detected. That normally happens at around week six or seven.


Huffington Post: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/07/21/ohio-late-term-abortion-b_n_906068.html
National Partnership: http://www.nationalpartnership.org/site/News2?abbr=daily2_&page=NewsArticle&id=29449
CBN: http://www.cbn.com/cbnnews/us/2011/February/Ohio-Abortion-Ban-Proposal-Challenges-Roe-v-Wade/

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