State Rep. Kristin Boggs (D-Columbus) issued a statement today after Senate Bill (SB) 157, the latest Republican anti-abortion bill, passed the Ohio House on a party-line vote. Opponents say SB 157 would put patients in danger by interfering with the ability for doctors and patients to make appropriate and life-saving medical decisions if faced with a medical crisis during pregnancy.
“Today, the Ohio House passed yet another barrier for pregnant people to access safe healthcare services. SB 157 is a step backwards for reproductive rights and creates unnecessary restrictions for patients and doctors,” said Rep. Boggs.
Rep. Boggs introduced an amendment to SB 157 which would make it unlawful for an employer to either fail to provide an employee with adequate unpaid time off to give birth or take an adverse employment action against a person because of the person's use of, or potential to use, the unpaid time off to give birth. Rep. Boggs explained, “We previously heard from my colleagues across the aisle when discussing vaccines about their concerns of lack of protections for employees who do not want something injected in them… My question to them is what about the protections for people who have babies coming out of them?”
The bill would also restrict abortion access in Ohio by prohibiting physicians who are employed by or teach at a medical school affiliated with a state university or college, state hospital or other public institution from being eligible for variances from written transfer agreements that are required for abortion clinics. During opponent testimony on the bill, advocates explained this provision is directly targeted to close abortion clinics in Southwest Ohio.
House Democrats introduced several other amendments to SB 157 to support pregnant people and families, including to:
- Remove the bill's requirement that a person performing an abortion take measures to preserve the health of a child born alive during the attempted abortion, while retaining current law requiring measures to preserve the life of the child;
- Remove the bill's third degree felony penalty for failing to comply with the bill's reporting requirements;
Eliminate the bill's provisions related to variances from the written transfer agreement requirement for ambulatory surgical facilities;
- Require employers to make reasonable accommodations for an employee’s pregnancy, and prevent employers from denying pregnant employees any employment-related opportunities;
- Create the Family and Medical Leave Insurance Program to provide 12 weeks of family and medical leave insurance benefits during a 12-month period to an individual to address the individual's serious health condition, to care for a family member, or to bond with a new child.
House Republicans rejected all Democratic amendments.
SB 157 is a part of a larger national attack on reproductive rights. Last Wednesday, the U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments on a Mississippi law that would ban abortion procedures 15 weeks after conception, effectively overturning Roe v. Wade. Additionally, Republican state lawmakers have also introduced legislation to completely ban abortion in Ohio.