Eleventh-hour lawmaking brought the strictest abortion ban in the nation to Gov. John Kasich’s desk this evening, for his signature into law. With U.S. Senate inaction giving way to a pending U.S. Supreme Court justice appointment from President-elect Donald Trump, Ohio Republicans appear to be counting on a new federal bench to re-litigate the constitutionality of their attacks on women’s health care. But Roe v. Wade is settled law upheld most recently by the Whole Women’s Health decision which overturned undue burdens on women’s access to abortion.
The unprecedented six-week abortion ban was amended into House Bill 493, legislation that strengthens Ohio’s child abuse reporting system. The last-minute amendment comes as the legislature closes out the 131st General Assembly on Thursday.
Here is what House Democratic lawmakers are saying about the six-week abortion ban:
“The six-week ban is a shameful, gross government invasion of deeply personal and private decisions made by families and women in consultation with medical professionals. The role of government should not be one that overrides the sovereignty women have over their own bodies and healthcare decisions. The fact that this unconstitutional ban doesn’t even include an exception for rape or incest is an embarrassment that directly conflicts with our values as Americans.” –House Democratic Leader Fred Strahorn (D-Dayton)
“This vote says to the women of Ohio that legislators do not trust your ability to make personal decisions. Legislators should not practice medicine without a license. We need to respect the constitutionally protected right to privacy and honor women's decision making ability. House Democratic lawmakers call on Governor Kasich to immediately veto this extreme and unconstitutional restriction.” –House Democratic Whip Nickie J. Antonio (D-Lakewood)
“If the legislature is serious about supporting life, how about supporting babies and families in a state with one of the worst infant mortality rates in the nation? How about finally adequately funding our children’s education? For all the talk from some lawmakers about the sanctity and value of life, that value seems to end once the child is outside the womb. This extreme, unconstitutional legislation places partisan politics above the health and well-being of Ohio women and their families.” –Rep. Emilia Strong Sykes (D-Akron)
“Roe vs Wade was not the beginning of women having abortions – it was the end of women dying from them. Today, Ohio's women were intentionally put at risk. To pass this legislation and to do so without an exception for rape or incest is unconscionable. This legislature has turned its back on victims.” –State Rep. Greta Johnson (D-Akron)
“By passing legislation that would ban abortions at such an early stage of gestation would, in many cases, require a transvaginal ultrasound to determine if an abortion is legal – even in cases of rape and incest – this legislature shows contempt for women, their health, and their autonomy as citizens.
“At some point in this country we must accept and agree that women are people and capable of making their own decisions about their own bodies. It’s clear, at least in the Ohio House, the Republican Majority is not there yet.” –State Rep. Dan Ramos (D-Lorain)
“The Senate and House action relative to HB 493 is not good government. To take a piece of well- intended legislation and slip in a harmful provision at the last minute is the epitome of bad government. The six-week abortion ban imposes political agenda upon the intimate family planning choices of a woman and her physician. Decisions about medical care need to be left to women in consultation with their health care provider, their families and their faith, NOT politicians.” –State Rep. Kevin Boyce (D-Columbus)