Local state lawmakers propose Texas-style abortion restriction

Ohio Statehouse
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Ohio Statehouse

Legislation proposed by two Miami Valley Republicans could effectively end all abortions in Ohio.

Two local Republican lawmakers introduced Texas-style abortion legislation Tuesday that could effectively end all abortions in Ohio.

House Bill 480, unveiled by state Reps. Jena Powell of Arcanum in Darke County and Thomas Hall of Madison Twp. in Butler County, would subject clinics, doctors and any others who facilitate abortions to large financial penalties tied to lawsuits citizens could bring against them, and would make it difficult to mount legal challenges. The fact that the woman wanted an abortion is not a defense against litigation, the Associated Press reported.

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Ohio is among 12 states that already have bans on abortion early in pregnancy, but all have been blocked by the courts from taking effect.

The Texas law was the first of its kind in the nation to take its unique approach. Eighteen other GOP-led states have thrown their support behind the ban on most abortions, suggesting they might follow suit should it be upheld as constitutional, according to the AP.

Powell and Hall did not wait. Powell said in a statement released Tuesday that the enforcement mechanism from the Texas law is necessary “since the constitutional fiction of Roe v. Wade has prevented communities from protecting our youngest children for the past 50 years.”

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The landmark 1973 decision guaranteed women the right to an abortion until the fetus reaches the point of “viability.”

So far, 33 Ohio lawmakers — more than half of the House GOP caucus — have signed onto the new bill, signaling early momentum for its passage. Local Republican lawmakers backing it include: Sara Carruthers, Hamilton; Rodney Creech, West Alexandria; Bill Dean, Xenia; Jennifer Gross, West Chester Twp.; Kyle Koehler, Springfield; and Paul Zeltwanger, Mason.

The fate of the legislation in the Ohio Senate, also under Republican control, is uncertain.

Anti-abortion groups praised the bill, while opponents called it extreme.

Margie Christie, director of Dayton Right to Life, said the grassroots anti-abortion community has been waiting for such legislation in Ohio.

“Dayton Right to Life is excited and thrilled to support its passage and save over 50 babies lost every day to abortion in Ohio,” Christie stated.

Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley, a Democratic candidate for governor, said she would veto any anti-abortion legislation she is sent, if elected.

“This dangerous bill would criminalize abortion and encourage vigilantism in our state,” she said in a statement. “Ohio deserves better than this anti-abortion extremism.”