Ohio Proposes an Even Worse Version of Texas Abortion Ban

The Ohio bill would ban all abortion, using Texas-style vigilante lawsuits and an unscientific definition of when pregnancy begins.

Photo of abortion activist holding a red sign in black lettering Stop the spread of Tex-ism
Ohio Republicans go one step further than Texas with a proposal to use private citizens to enforce a total abortion ban. Kena Betancur/AFP via Getty Images

For more coverage on Texas SB 8, check out our special report.

Last week, Ohio lawmakers proposed a bounty on abortion providers in the state.

The bill, HB 480, uses a similar enforcement mechanism as Texas SB 8 by deputizing private citizens to enforce the abortion ban. Like the Texas law, it allows anyone to file a lawsuit against an abortion provider for $10,000 or more, plus legal costs and attorneys’ fees. But the Ohio bill goes one step further—to allow private citizens to enforce a total abortion ban. No “heartbeat” necessary, just the fertilization of an egg with sperm.

Forget all the legalese, but that’s just scientifically bonkers. Pregnancy does not begin when an egg is fertilized. Between one-third and one-half of all fertilized eggs never fully implant into the wall of the uterus and, as the Guttmacher Institute has reported, medical professionals and the federal government agree—if it doesn’t stick, it’s not a pregnancy.

Why does that matter? Because the difference between fertilization and implantation is also the difference between birth control and abortion. One of the ways that birth control can work is by thinning the lining of your uterus so that even if an egg is fertilized, it doesn’t implant.

Following the reasoning of a bill like Ohio HB 480, would birth control or Plan B be banned? Especially considering that, scientifically speaking, none of this makes sense.

Let’s get back to the proposed Ohio abortion ban, which makes almost no exceptions. If your pregnancy was a result of rape, you still couldn’t get an abortion, though your rapist couldn’t sue your provider. How generous.

Just about anyone else could sue your abortion provider. They could also sue someone who tries to help you get an abortion or tells somebody else that they plan to help you get an abortion. It’s a police state—except the police are anyone and everyone.

So we’ll get Texas, except worse, if this passes the state’s Republican-held legislature and goes to Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine, who is no friend to abortion rights. And abortion access in Ohio is crucial. As Rewire News Group reported last month, “many people in surrounding states rely on Ohio abortion clinics. … Should an SB 8-style state ban take hold in Ohio, it would have devastating effects not just on the region but across the country.”

This post was adapted from a Twitter thread.