Ohio anti-choice advocates are pushing to pass a state ban on abortion after 20 weeks post-fertilization. The legislation will be introduced in the coming weeks.
“This is our legislative priority,” Michael Gonidakis, the president of Ohio Right to Life and vice president of Ohio’s state board of health, told the Columbus Dispatch.
Ohio Right to Life, the anti-choice group that drafted the legislation, wrote in a press statement that the bill is meant to chip away at Roe v. Wade, which protects access to abortion up until the fetus is “viable”—a point typically identified as about 24 weeks into the pregnancy.
The group also said the proposed legislation will be similar to the 20-week ban recently introduced, and then pulled, in Congress, after some two dozen women in the GOP said they would not support the bill due to its narrow exception for rape.
Similar legislation has also been introduced this month in South Carolina, Virginia, and West Virginia.
Proponents of the 20-week bans, all dubbed the “Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act,” say fetuses can start to feel pain at 20 weeks. But that claim is based on discredited scientific research. The American Medical Association, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, and the British Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, among others, have disputed the hypothesis that “fetal pain” begins at 20 weeks.
“Ohioans trust women to make the most important decisions about when, where, and how to have families – without political interference,” NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio Executive Director Kellie Copeland said in a statement. “This trust only grows when people find out that women seeking abortion care later in pregnancy often face difficult, complicated situations. This decision should be made in consultation with a doctor who knows her circumstances and not by a politician who doesn’t.”