Ohio “Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act” (SB 127)
This law was last updated on Dec 18, 2018
SB 127 prohibits a person from performing an abortion on a pregnant individual when the probable post-fertilization age of the fetus is 20 weeks or greater.
It would be an affirmative defense to a charge that the abortion was performed if the physician determined that any of the following applied:
- The probable post-fertilization age of the fetus was less than 20 weeks.
- The abortion was necessary to prevent the death of the pregnant individual or a serious risk of the substantial and irreversible impairment of a major bodily function of the pregnant individual, except no abortion shall be considered necessary under this section on the basis of a claim or diagnosis that the pregnant individual will engage in conduct that would result in their death or a substantial and irreversible impairment of a major bodily function of the pregnant individual, or based on any reason related to the patient’s mental health.
The affirmative defense would not apply unless the physician who performs the abortion makes a determination of the probable post-fertilization age or relies upon such a determination made by another physician and certifies in writing that the probable post-fertilization age is less than 20 weeks.
The affirmative defense would also not apply unless:
- The physician certifies in writing that the abortion is necessary due to prevent the death of the pregnant individual or serious risk of the substantial and irreversible impairment of a major bodily function of the pregnant individual.
- A different physician not professionally related to the attending physician certifies in writing that the abortion is necessary to prevent the death of the pregnant individual or a serious risk of the substantial and irreversible impairment of a major bodily function of the pregnant individual.
- The physician performs the abortion in a hospital or other health-care facility that has appropriate neonatal services for premature infants.
- The physician terminates the pregnancy in the manner that provides the best opportunity for the fetus to survive unless termination in the manner would pose a greater risk to the pregnant individual.
- The physician certifies in writing the available method or techniques considered and the reasons for choosing the method or technique employed.
- The physician who performs the abortion has arranged for the attendance in the same room in which the abortion is to be performed at least one other physician who is to take control of, provide immediate medical care for, and take all reasonable steps necessary to preserve the life and health of the fetus immediately upon its complete expulsion or extraction from the pregnant individual.
A violation of these provisions would be a felony of the fourth degree.
Physician Reporting Requirements
Abortion providers are required to report certain information to the department of health in accordance with forms and regulations to be adopted by the department of health.
By September 30 of each year, the department of health is required to issue a public report providing statistics compiled from all the reports provided by physicians.
The law establishes the Ohio pain-capable unborn child protection act litigation fund to be used by the attorney general to pay for any costs and expenses incurred by the attorney general in defending the law. The fund shall consist of appropriations made to it and any donations, gifts, or grants made to the fund.
Companion bill to HB 117.
Signed by Gov. Kasich on December 13, 2016.