Ohio passes sec­ond, less re­stric­tive, abor­tion bill

Kuwait Times - - HEALTH -


Ohio law­mak­ers passed a sec­ond piece of leg­is­la­tion in two days on Thurs­day re­strict­ing abor­tion ac­cess in the state by ban­ning the pro­ce­dure af­ter 20 weeks of ges­ta­tion. Se­nate Bill 127 was passed by the state House 64-29 on Thurs­day and then again later in the evening by the Se­nate 23-8. The Se­nate had ap­proved the bill early last year but had to ap­prove it again be­cause of changes made by the House. The bill is less strict than the “heart­beat” mea­sure passed on Tues­day that out­laws an abor­tion as early as six weeks af­ter con­cep­tion, once a fe­tal heart­beat is de­tected.

Nei­ther of the mea­sures make ex­cep­tions for rape or in­cest, al­though both al­low for abor­tions that would save the mother’s life. Sup­port­ers of the bill say they are try­ing to pro­tect the lives of un­born ba­bies. Both pieces of leg­is­la­tion await the sig­na­ture or veto of Repub­li­can Ohio Gov­er­nor John Ka­sich, who crit­ics said on Thurs­day was us­ing the du­el­ing leg­is­la­tions as politic cover. “Pass­ing both anti-abor­tion mea­sures in a lame-duck ses­sion is po­lit­i­cal ma­neu­ver­ing by the Repub­li­can-dom­i­nated state leg­is­la­ture steered by Gov­er­nor Ka­sich,” said Gabriel Mann, a spokesman for the NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio.

“John Ka­sich has a masters de­gree in po­lit­i­cal cal­cu­lus.” Ka­sich could veto the six-week ban and sign the 20-week ban in an effort to ap­pear mod­er­ate, Mann said. Twenty-week abor­tion bans have been passed in more than 10 states, but fed­eral courts in Ari­zona and Idaho have ruled that they are un­con­sti­tu­tional. Un­der cur­rent law, Ohio pro­hibits abor­tion once a fe­tus is con­sid­ered vi­able out­side the womb, which is from 24 to 26 weeks of ges­ta­tion. The Amer­i­can Civil Lib­er­ties Union of Ohio tes­ti­fied against both bills, say­ing the mea­sures un­con­sti­tu­tion­ally re­stricted women’s ac­cess to re­pro­duc­tive health­care.

“Bans such as these only hurt women and their fam­i­lies and waste tax­payer dol­lars by de­fend­ing laws that fed­eral courts have rou­tinely de­clared un­con­sti­tu­tional,” Mike Brick­ner, a se­nior pol­icy di­rec­tor at the ACLU, said on Wed­nes­day be­fore the vote. “Gov­er­nor Ka­sich should veto any bill that in­fringes upon re­pro­duc­tive freedom,” he said. Also passed on Thurs­day was an health­care bill that in­cluded a last-minute amend­ment that makes “know­ingly as­sist­ing” in a suicide a felony pun­ish­able by up to five years in prison. —Reuters

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