Ohio lawmakers introduce bill banning abortion beginning at conception

Following the U.S. Supreme Court’s overturn of Roe v. Wade, abortion is already illegal in Ohio after six weeks’ gestation. Now Republican legislators have introduced a bill to make abortion illegal from the moment of conception.

The only exception would be for danger to the life of the mother, the same as under the “Heartbeat Bill” which currently bans abortion after a fetal heartbeat can be detected.

Rep. Gary Click, R-Vickery, a Baptist pastor, on Tuesday filed House Bill 704, dubbed the “Personhood Act.” Thus far it has at least seven Republican cosponsors.

The one-page piece of legislation reads: “The state of Ohio shall recognize the personhood, and protect the constitutional rights, of all unborn human individuals from the moment of conception. Nothing in this section shall be interpreted in any manner that would endanger the life of a mother.”

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The bill could ban some forms of contraception, such as the “morning-after pill” which prevents a fertilized egg from implanting in the uterine wall.

Republican legislative leaders, while welcoming the overturn of Roe, have said they’ll likely wait until after the Nov. 8 election to reconvene and consider further abortion legislation.

Other bills are pending such as House Bill 598, sponsored by state Rep. Jean Schmidt, R-Loveland; and its Senate counterpart, Senate Bill 123, sponsored by state Sens. Kristina Roegner, R-Hudson, and Sandra O’Brien, R-Ashtabula, which would make it a felony for doctors to perform abortions.

Currently none of those bills include exceptions for rape or incest. Under previous laws, abortion was already illegal in Ohio past 20 weeks’ gestation, or 22 weeks past the woman’s last menstrual period.

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