An emailer requested we look at the bill banning abortion in Ohio, and I said I would do that.
I read it as I would read any other Ohio bill, and it occurred to me that when I discuss this bill with women in Ohio I don’t have to do anything other than rely on the language in the bill.
I don’t have to make any theoretical slippery slope arguments involving liberty or broccoli or death panels. I don’t have to bang the table or distract with fetus testimony or hand out pretty balloons or construct an elaborate attenuated hypothetical or call out an army of paid shills. I can simply read the proposed statute and say with absolute unequivocal certainty that this is a radical departure from existing law. When I read it from a practitioner’s view, in that sense, it’s clean and easy.
In any event, let’s look at what they wrote:
Three sections, here’s the first:
Prohibits a person from performing an abortion on a pregnant woman prior to determining if the fetus has a detectible fetal heartbeat, except when there is a medical emergency. Requires a person who intends to perform an abortion to determine if there is the presence of a fetal heartbeat of the unborn human individual according to standard medical practice.
And the sanction on violating the first:
Provides that a physician who performs an abortion prior to determining if the fetus has a detectible fetal heartbeat is subject to disciplinary action by the State Medical Board.
Generally prohibits a person from knowingly performing an abortion with the specific intent of causing or abetting the termination of the life of an unborn human individual whose fetal heartbeat has been detected.
And the sanction on the second:
Provides that a person who violates the prohibition is guilty of performing an abortion after the detection of a fetal heartbeat, a felony of the fifth degree.
This third part is where it gets a little tricky:
Requires a person who intends to perform an abortion on a pregnant woman after detecting a fetal heartbeat to provide the woman, no later than 24 hours prior to the performance of the intended abortion, with certain specified information regarding the statistical probability of bringing the unborn human individual to term. Requires the pregnant woman, no later than 24 hours prior to the performance of the intended abortion, to sign a form acknowledging that the pregnant woman received the specified information and that the pregnant woman is aware of the statistical probability of bringing the unborn human individual to term.
The drafters just told us that 1. The physician has to determine if the fetus has a heartbeat, and 2. Performing an abortion after detecting a heartbeat is a felony. Why is the woman signing a consent form to allow the physician to commit a felony? There’s an exception for the life of the mother, so I guess it could apply there, but that seems a stretch. Might be a good question for women to put to Ohio’s conservative legislators, in terms of what they have in store for us here.