There’s been a lot of attention given to the contentious “Heartbeat Bill,” which bans abortion at the point that a fetal heartbeat can be detected, since it passed the Ohio House earlier this week. But Republican lawmakers are considering another bill during this lame-duck session that would ban abortions entirely.
HB 565, which was introduced in March, would allow criminal charges against both doctors and pregnant women seeking abortions. It would characterize an “unborn human” as a person under Ohio’s criminal code, meaning abortions could be punishable by life in prison or even the death penalty.
There are no exceptions even in cases of rape, incest, or danger to a woman’s life.
Jaime Miracle with NARAL Pro Choice Ohio says the bill would punish both women and doctors. NARAL and Planned Parenthood are spending money on advertisements opposing the bill.
“This could criminalize women who have miscarriages that might seem suspicious to somebody or could criminalize in-vitro fertilization procedures that might end up with an embryo," Miracle says.
This is not one of the bills Ohio Right To Life has targeted for passage. But the organization’s president, Mike Gonidakis, is hoping for some legislation to go before the U.S. Supreme Court soon as a way to challenge the 1973 “Roe v. Wade” decision.
“We need to continue to pass legislation in an incremental approach, which is what Ohio Right to Life does," Gonidakis says.
While this bill is currently being considered by the House’s health committee, it is not likely to pass this year.
In 2017, an Ohio law went into effect that bans abortions after 20 weeks. The “Heartbeat Bill” that passed the Ohio House would ban abortions as early as six weeks.