COLUMBUS, Ohio (March 22, 2018) – A bill filed in the Ohio House would ban all abortions in the state, nullifying the Supreme Court decision in Roe v. Wade.
Rep. Ron Hood (R-Ashville) and Rep. Nino Vitale (R-Urbana) introduced House Bill 565 (HB565) on March 19. The legislation would ban all abortions in the state. In effect, the legislation would define an “unborn human” as a person under Ohio’s criminal code relating to murder, manslaughter and homicide. It would also open the door to wrongful death lawsuits.
Hood told Cleveland.com that it would be up to a prosecutor to decide what punishment to seek and whom to charge. Under the proposed law, the mother could potentially face charges for having an abortion.
The bill does not include any exceptions for rape, incest, or the life or health of the mother. Vitale called it a “save them both” bill.
HB565 does include immunity provisions for physicians who indirectly or unintentionally cause the death of an unborn person.
“I believe life begins at conception so the goal of this bill is to, first of all, continue to get the word out that life does begin at conception and move the debate in that direction, and to protect unborn Ohioans from being aborted,” Hood told Cleveland.com.
Ohio Right to Life said it doesn’t plan to support HB565 because it’s committed to a strategy based on a law enacted last year after Gov. John Kasich signed a bill into law banning most abortions after 20 weeks.
“The 20-week ban was nationally designed to be the vehicle to end abortion in America. It challenges the current national abortion standard and properly moves the legal needle from viability to the baby’s ability to feel pain,” Ohio Right to Life President Michael Gonidakis told the Columbus Dispatch last year.
Passage HB565 would undoubtedly set up a confrontation between the state of Ohio and the federal government.
in Planned Parenthood v. Casey (1992), the Supreme reaffirmed the opinion in Roe v. Wade that a woman has an absolute right to an abortion until fetal viability while rejecting a trimester structure the court initially used to determine when states could regulate abortion. Current Supreme Court precedent prohibits states from regulating abortion before 24 weeks.
The opinion of Supreme Court judges notwithstanding, the federal government lacks any constitutional authority to regulate abortions. This clearly falls within the objects James Madison said would remain with the state governments – “objects which, in the ordinary course of affairs, concern the lives, liberties and properties of the people.”
But in Roe v. Wade, the SCOTUS created a constitutional “right to privacy” out of thin air and enforced it on state governments through the “due process” clause of the 14th Amendment. Justice Byron White captured the absurdity of the ruling in a blistering dissent.
“I find nothing in the language or history of the Constitution to support the Court’s judgment. The Court simply fashions and announces a new constitutional right for pregnant mothers and, with scarcely any reason or authority for its action, invests that right with sufficient substance to override most existing state abortion statutes.”
No matter what you think about abortion as a policy, from a constitutional perspective based on the original meaning of the Constitution and the 14th Amendment, HB565 rests on solid ground. How it would play out in practice, should it pass into law, remains to be seen.
At the time of the report, HB565 has not been referred to a committee. Once it recieves a committee assignment, it will need to pass by a majority vote before moving forward in the legislative process.