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Ohio Set to Face Yet Another Anti-Choice Bill

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February 11, 2015

On Tuesday, reports surfaced that a new bill will be introduced to deny abortion after a diagnosis of Down Syndrome in the fetus. This ban is one of the first of its kind and other conservative states could easily attempt to replicate this form of abortion restriction. The sponsors of this ban don’t care about supporting disabled people, they care about ending safe and legal abortion.

Reports suggest that the bill will be introduced by Republican Sarah LaTourette. As a recent electee to the House, LaTourette hasn’t had a chance to legislatively sponsor any disability rights bills or funding plans. But, from the looks of her website and small web presence it doesn’t seem like she’s had much experience with being a clear advocate for the rights of differently abled people. If we are to see similar names on the new bill to HB 248 (the “heartbeat bill”), the majority  (23) of the representatives who sponsored the heartbeat bill have not sponsored disability rights bills in the past.

The ban to end abortion with a diagnosis of Down Syndrome, along with another planned bill to ban abortions after 20-weeks, is part of a bigger campaign by conservative factions in Ohio to make abortion inaccessible for any reason. Everyone’s situation for choosing abortion is different and it is crucial to have care accessible and available. For Ohio Right to Life advocates and anti-choice supporters, these bills are part of a larger campaign that is now their most important legislative consideration for healthcare.

Plans have also been laid by anti-choice advocates in 2015 to present bills that will:

  • Prevent Planned Parenthood from accessing public funds (specifically for infant mortality prevention)

  • Increase funding to crisis pregnancy centers that deter people from having abortions

  • Require federal protocols for the use of drugs that aid in abortion

  • End all abortion in Ohio, except in cases where the pregnant person’s life is threatened (which goes against federal law)

This new legislative push is extreme and it seems that they would have to require a federal overturning of Roe v. Wade to make some of the anti-choice dreams come true.

It’s easy to take for granted the ability to have an abortion in states that aren’t like Ohio. Here, anti-choice politicians are working hard in this state to overturn a law that’s only been around for forty years. Although a few of Ohio’s attempts to limit abortion access have been shut down in the past, this package of bans could seriously hurt access to care which is already scarce in the state, even if it doesn’t achieve its goal of eliminating abortion.

In a perfect world we would have reproductive justice for everyone in Ohio. Everyone would have complete control over the decisions made about their bodies and easy access health care to control fertility and reproduction. Relationship stereotypes, forced sterilization, and abstinence-only education wouldn’t exist. Low-income, LGBTQ, people of color, and differently-abled people would have equal access to safe and affordable care. Our state’s current legislation negatively impacts the ability of people to make informed decisions about their health and doesn’t consider the multitude of backgrounds that people come from or inequalities they may face. If you’re someone who cares about people having control over their bodies, it’s important to know what’s happening in your state with reproductive justice.

An abortion is already difficult to access in Ohio, especially if you don’t have hundreds of dollars to spare, don’t have a flexible work schedule, or access to transportation. If you understand why this is bad, even if it doesn’t directly effect you, drop a line to Oberlin’s congressman, Jim Jordan, at (202) 225-2676 and say you don’t support the 20-week ban.