In 2011, the Ohio legislature passed laws banning late-term abortions (defined as after 20 weeks if the fetus is viable), strengthened parental consent laws for minor seeking abortions and forbid state insurance exchanges covering most abotions, except for incest, rape or the life of the mother. Governor John Kasich also signed laws which prohibited public hospitals performing abortions and banned abortion coverage in local public employees’ health insurance. So, what’s next?
On Friday, Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine certified a petition allowing signatures for a “personhood” amendment. Such an amendment would bestow full citizen’s rights on a fertilized egg.
Ohio Right to Life President Mike Gonidakis praised the 2011 legislative session. “Never in the history of the pro-life movement have we had so many legislative measures enacted in one year.” And the conservatives went beyond just making it harder to get an abortion. The state Department of Health must apply for federal grants to fund abstinence education, which the naive believe cuts down on the number of unplanned pregnancies. Anti-abortion student groups are college campuses have access to school funds and facilities. The group’s goals for 2012 include defunding Planned Parenthood, providing funds for pregnancy counseling and prenatal care, a law requiring a woman seeking an abortion to see or hear the fetal heartbeat, which under enhanced detection methods could be as early as six to eight weeks, and electing a president and a senator who are just as anti-abortion as they are.
Elizabeth Nash, a Guttmacher Institute analyst, called Ohio “…one of the most restrictive states in the country, and if 2011 is any indication, it is going to become more restrictive. We had over 90 abortion restrictions adopted in 2011 [nation-wide] – and that’s a lot considering the next highest total was 34 in 2005.”
Gonidakis said the heartbeat bill is unconstitutional and it will not support a court challenge. The same holds true for the personhood amendment. So far, the personhood amendment has failed in every state it has been tried, including Ohio.
Linda Theis, president of Ohio ProLife Action, which supports the heartbeat bill, said the legislation must pass because it has the potential to bar as many as 90% to 95% of the state’s abortions. “We figure it would save about 26,000 lives a year. ” Ohio’s abortion rate has been dropping for the past ten years, hitting a low of 28,123 in 2010.
Theis is wrong. Making abortion illegal does not end abortion. It only makes abortion illegal and more dangerous.