#SaveSCOTUS: Proposed Ohio Bill Would Criminalize Abortion – and Lead to Capital Punishment

By Rosalie Toupin
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Last Tuesday morning, I – along with a handful of other FMF interns and staff – attended a congressional press conference about the fight to #StopKavanaugh and #SaveSCOTUS. The room quickly became standing room only, with more than 80 activists, congressional staff, and members of the press crowding around to hear from political activists and congresspeople. Leaders from the reproductive rights movement and members of the Congressional Pro-Choice Caucus spoke about the imminent danger that Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination poses for Roe v. Wade and reproductive health, rights, and justice more generally.

One of the speakers was Ilyse Hogue, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, who contextualized the threat of Trump’s SCOTUS nomination by referencing a proposed Ohio state bill that criminalizes abortion, with no exceptions, and warrants extreme punishments – including life imprisonment and the death penalty.

Ohio HB 565 was proposed by State Representatives A. Nino Vitale and Ron Hood in March of this year and currently lists 18 co-sponsors. The bill would ban all abortion in the state of Ohio with no exceptions for rape, incest, or to save the mother’s life. The bill also includes a personhood clause, which would classify “unborn humans” as “persons” in the Ohio criminal code. By legally defining fetuses as people, this Ohio bill would allow the state to criminally charge abortion providers and patients with murder – which, in a state that still uses capital punishment (and did so as recently as September 2017), would make providing or obtaining an abortion an offense punishable by life imprisonment or death. Civil and criminal charges can be brought against both the doctor who carries out the procedure and the patient who receives abortion care.

If you live in Ohio, call your state representatives today to voice your fervent opposition to this heinous attack on reproductive healthcare and women’s rights – especially if your representative is one of the following sponsors of the bill:

While HB 565 has only been proposed in the Ohio state legislature, it serves as an example of the extreme and violent measures that conservatives will go to in order to restrict access to reproductive healthcare. If this bill passes into law it will take immediate effect until taken to court and proven unconstitutional, leaving people seeking abortions in Ohio and surrounding states without abortion access in the meantime.

Additionally, although HB 565 is in clear violation of Roe v. Wade, its passage in Ohio could potentially present an anti-choice Supreme Court with the opportunity to overturn or significantly dismantle Roe – impacting abortion rights throughout the United States. That’s why it is imperative that we #StopKavanaugh to protect our rights, bodies, and lives – for now and for future generations.

Wondering what you can do to help #StopKavanaugh?

Call 202-902-7129 and tell your senators to refuse to confirm Brett Kavanaugh.

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