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Ohio lawmakers pose threat to abortion right

by Shelby Toth - News Editor
Wed, Dec 5th 2018 05:00 pm
Pro life? Ohio lawmakers are trying to pass a bill that would not only make abortion illegal, but also make it punishable by the death penalty. This decision faced a lot of backlash because of its challenge to Roe v. Wade, the bill that was passed in 1973 which did not criminalize women who chose to take the route of abortion.
Pro life? Ohio lawmakers are trying to pass a bill that would not only make abortion illegal, but also make it punishable by the death penalty. This decision faced a lot of backlash because of its challenge to Roe v. Wade, the bill that was passed in 1973 which did not criminalize women who chose to take the route of abortion.

A recent bill passed in Ohio has caused a heated discussion about abortion rights the public hasn’t seen since Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation into the United States Supreme Court. It has also brought up renewed interest in a bill previously introduced in Ohio that could bring the strictest anti-abortion laws the country has ever seen, if it were to be passed.

On Thursday, Nov. 15, the Ohio House of Representatives passed House Bill 258. According to the New York Times, the bill criminalizes performing an abortion on any fetus with a heartbeat, categorizing the crime as a fifth-degree felony. This would mean any doctor found performing an abortion on a fetus with a heartbeat could receive up to a year in prison and a $2,500 fine.

It’s important to note that a heartbeat can be detected as soon as six weeks into a pregnancy, a time when many women don’t even realize they are pregnant yet.

The bill offers no exception for cases of rape or incest. However, there is an exception if there is a medical emergency or if the abortion could save the woman’s life.

While the bill is not officially law, it won’t have much trouble getting there. The Ohio Senate is mainly republican and between the senate and house, there is a narrow-minded majority in overturning a veto by the current Governor, John Kasich. If the bill doesn’t hit the governor’s desk until next year, it will see even less trouble, as the upcoming Governor Mike DeWine said he’d support the bill.

If you’re reading this article, you’re more than likely one of two people: someone who already agrees with every point and can see the absurdity of this bill or someone who is reading it specifically to disagree. Hopefully, both parties and everyone in between can recognize the second bill currently sitting in Ohio right now is absolute insanity, contradicting everything pro-lifers claim to stand for.

House Bill 565, according to Independent, would “extend the definition of a person in Ohio’s criminal code to include the “unborn human.’” Independent also reports the bill defines abortion as the process of “causing the death of an unborn human, by any method, including, but not limited to, chemical methods, medical, and surgical methods.”

If that were to happen, starting at conception, the fetus would be considered a human who could be murdered. By natural extension, coupled with Ohio’s criminal laws, those performing or receiving an abortion can be punished by life in prison or even the death penalty. The bill currently has no exceptions for rape, incest or life-threatening pregnancies.

So, pro-life, huh?

With the passage of bill 258, attention has picked up again on bill 565. There hasn’t been a huge push to get the bill in motion throughout the court system since its introduction in March, but that doesn’t mean it lacks support. According to CNN, the bill is sponsored by Republican Representatives Ron Hood and A. Nino Vitale and co-sponsored by 16 other Republican lawmakers: 14 men, two women.

It seems all those who argued Kavanaugh’s appointment wouldn’t bring an attack against Roe v. Wade were wrong. According to the New York Times, Christina Hagen, the lead sponsor of bill 258, said that the bill was created in a way to challenge Roe v. Wade and she believes Ohio is “best positioned” to send it all the way through to the federal Supreme Court.

An attack on Roe v. Wade is an attack on everyone capable of creating a child inside of them. Every human should have the right to bodily autonomy, defined as “the right to self governance over one’s own body without external influence or coercion.” It’s a common argument used to defend abortion, but that’s because it works. A human being should have the right to control their own body. There are countless articles and papers defending abortion based on this idea.

Still, people argue against abortion as unnecessary murder. Upcoming Ohio Senator Mike DeWine said that he believed the job of the government is to “protect the most vulnerable members of society” and that “includes the unborn,” according to the New York Times.

Are young teenagers who have accidentally gotten pregnant not vulnerable members of society? In a state that doesn’t require comprehensive sex-ed, are these teens not being protected enough? According to sexetc.org, schools in Ohio must stress abstinence during health education, but are not required to teach about contraceptives and parents can opt their child out of health education classes all together. Does DeWine care about these vulnerable people?

What about rape victims or women being forced to stay in abusive relationships by being pregnant? Expecting mothers, who, if they were to carry the pregnancy to term, would have serious health risks and could potentially die? Does DeWine care about them?

The recurring problem with those stringently against abortion is they care more about the unborn child than the already alive human. Many also refuse to push for alternative ways to limit unwanted pregnancies. DeWine himself has fought numerous battles against birth control. According to Huffpost, he has “filed cases, joined cases and filed amicus briefs in cases” against birth control.

In a word, these people are hypocrites. And if, God forbid, any more push happens for bill 565, the hypocrisy will only get worse.

If a woman whose life was in danger sought out an abortion, she could be punished with death. Just by being pregnant, she has been handed a life-terminating sentence, all because lawmakers in Ohio would rather push their agenda over women’s bodies than protect the live and vulnerable.