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Dem efforts to protect Ohio women rejected as nation's most extreme abortion ban set for House vote

Near-total abortion ban abandons maternal health, provides no exceptions for rape and incest
April 9, 2019
Janine R. Boyd News

State Rep. Janine R. Boyd (D-Cleveland Heights), the highest ranking Democrat on the House Health Committee, issued the following statement after GOP lawmakers rejected Democratic efforts to include protections for Ohio women in Senate Bill (SB) 23, a bill that would implement a near-total ban on abortion in Ohio.

“I submit to citizens that this bill is not about ‘life.’ It proposes that the state will force nearly all pregnant women to carry their pregnancies to term, regardless of how that might threaten her health and her economic security, and it erodes the fundamental freedom we all have as Americans to make important medical and health decisions.” 

“This political legislation threatens the health and economic security of Ohio’s women and families, and erodes the fundamental freedom we all have as Americans to make important medical and health decisions.

“Fast-tracking abortion bans without proper vetting is a horrible failure of the democratic process and our duty as elected officials to give voice to the taxpayers here in the People’s House.

“Democrats offered 10 amendments today, amendments to protect women, support children and strengthen families, but they were all rejected along party lines.

“We cannot in good conscience support a bill that limits the constitutional rights, freedoms and liberties of our fellow citizens. I urge my colleagues to oppose this extreme, partisan and unconstitutional attack on our most fundamental freedoms.”

GOP lawmakers rejected 10 Democratic amendments along party lines Tuesday. Amendments included:

  • Exceptions for pregnancies as the result of rape or incest.
  • Exemption for women who believe SB 23 restrictions limit their religious freedom.
  • Exemption for African-American women, whose history includes rape and forced birth imposed on enslaved women and black women after slavery.
  • Fetal abnormality exemption.
  • Exemption for women whose physical or mental health is at risk.
  • Restoration of Planned Parenthood funding.
  • Establishment of Pregnant Woman Support, which entitles women to receive support payments from the man who impregnated her, as well as the creation of a state voucher program for childcare and transportation costs.
  • Fund matching for every dollar spent defending law in court; a matching amount would be deposited into the state’s Mandatory Motherhood Remediation Fund.
  • Remove SB 23’s criminal penalties for Ohio doctors.
  • Offer free tuition for any student pursuing degrees in prenatal and perinatal specialties at publically funded universities and is employed in the field for at least four years after graduation in Ohio.
  • Require comprehensive sexual education be taught in Ohio schools.
  • Increase the state's interest in the woman from merely a "valid" interest to a "compelling" interest.

After clearing the House Health Committee, SB 23 heads to the House for a floor vote Wednesday.