House Democratic lawmakers today voiced opposition to House Bill (HB) 68, a Republican bill that would prohibit abortion as early as six-weeks into a pregnancy, long before most women know they are pregnant. The bill contains no exceptions for rape and incest and limited exceptions for the life and health of the mother.
“Legislating in a vacuum often leads to unintended consequences, especially when it comes to public health,” said Rep. Janine Boyd (D-Cleveland Heights). “Research shows a relationship between pregnancy and increased risk of suicide and homicide by an intimate partner—that’s why pushing health restrictions that fail to address these concerns is so dangerous. It’s unfortunate my colleagues on the other side of the aisle aren’t willing to look at these issues.”
House Democrats proposed a bipartisan working group tasked with studying the interplay of health challenges, including mental and reproductive health, and creating policy recommendations based on those findings. However, GOP lawmakers rejected that proposal.
“It is impossible for anyone, much less politicians, to predict what complications may occur during a pregnancy. That is why it is so important that every Ohioan has access to the care they need when they need it,” said Rep. Beth Liston (D-Dublin). “This extreme bill will have a profound impact on medical training and physicians’ ability to care for people in Ohio. Simply put, doctors will not want to practice where they risk going to jail for trying to save the life of a patient. All Ohioans will suffer as doctors leave the state.”
HB 68 would enact the most stringent healthcare restrictions in the country. Federal courts struck down similar restrictions in Arkansas, North Dakota and Iowa. Defending the law in court would cost Ohio taxpayers millions of dollars, according to recent reports.