Clermont County State Rep. John Becker, a Republican, introduced a bill yesterday that would forbid abortions in Ohio unless a mother's life or major bodily functions are in jeopardy. That bill would only go into law, however, if Roe is overturned by the Supreme Court. The proposed law would levy up to 18 months in prison and a $5,000 fine for physicians convicted of the fourth-degree felony it creates. Doctors would also lose their licenses if convicted under the potential law. Women receiving abortions would not be prosecuted under the law, though they could sue their doctors.
"Ohio is a pro-life state," Becker said in a statement. "If and when the Supreme Court decides to return the issue of abortion back to the states, we want to be prepared for what comes next.”
Over the past few years, conservative lawmakers in Ohio have proposed increasingly strict abortion laws designed to trigger a challenge to the landmark 1973 U.S. Supreme Court decision legalizing abortion. Those include the so-called "heartbeat" law, which effectively bans abortions six weeks after conception. That law, and others passed by the Ohio General Assembly, have been blocked by federal courts.
Critics of the laws say they will deprive women of the right to make their own healthcare choices.
"All people deserve quality affordable abortion care in their communities without stigma, shame or delay," NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio Executive Director Kellie Copeland said in a statement about Becker's bill.
Ohio would join eight other states including Kentucky that have so-called "trigger" laws like the one Becker proposes.