Jun 27, 2022 - News

Abortion further restricted in Ohio

Protesters hold signs condemning the overturning of Roe v. Wade.
Protesters are seen downtown following the U.S. Supreme Court's overturning of Roe v. Wade on Friday. Photo: Barbara J. Perenic/Columbus Dispatch/USA Today Network

Ohio Republicans are deciding whether to pursue an all-out ban on abortion following the U.S. Supreme Court's overturning of Roe v. Wade last week.

Why it matters: Friday's court decision has led to immediate policy changes on abortion in both blue and red states, Ohio included.

Catch up quick: Ohio passed a "Heartbeat Bill" in 2019 banning abortion once fetal cardiac activity is detected, but Roe's precedent ā€” guaranteeing a constitutional right to an abortion ā€” prevented the bill from taking effect.

  • Within an hour of Roe being overturned, Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost successfully moved to have the bill enacted, making abortion illegal beyond about six weeks of pregnancy.
  • Critics responded by protesting at the Ohio Statehouse and outside Yost's home.

State of play: Republican supermajorities in the Ohio legislature have the votes to ban abortion entirely and GOP leaders have expressed support for taking that step.

Yes, but: Lawmakers are on break until September and there don't appear to be plans for a summer emergency session.

  • A successful vote this fall would put a total abortion ban into effect early next year.

What they're saying: "Those who are pro-life, including my wife Fran and me, believe that the life of a human being is at stake and that we have an obligation to protect that innocent life," Gov. Mike DeWine said in a televised address Friday.

  • "I look forward to reviewing the specific details in the [Supreme Court's opinion], so that as we move forward, any legislation we pass in the Ohio Senate follows the guidance of the court, protecting life, and upholding the Constitution," Senate President Matt Huffman said in a statement.

Between the lines: It's debatable whether such legislation would include exceptions like saving the life of the mother.

  • Huffman indicated to The Columbus Dispatch that he is uninterested in an exception for pregnancy resulting from rape.
  • "A baby is a baby even if it came through some terrible awful thing like rape. The answer can't be, let's just kill the baby."
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