Ohio Right to Life, which has been winning incremental restrictions on abortion year after year, is now setting its sights on outlawing a common surgical method used in second trimester abortions.
The anti-abortion group announced Thursday that its top priority is banning dilation and evacuation, a procedure commonly used in abortions performed between 13 and 24 weeks gestation. In 2015, nearly 3,000 D&E abortions were peformed in Ohio, according to state records.
“When thousands of human children are being torn limb from limb every year, it is incumbent on the state of Ohio to stand up and put a stop to this inhumane practice,” said Ohio Right to Life President Mike Gonidakis in a written statement.
Abortion-rights groups are vowing to fight it.
“As you know there is a very large anti-choice majority in both the Ohio House and Senate. However, Ohioans would do not support essentially outlawing abortion at 13 weeks into pregnancy. I think we have a chance to stop this bill,” said Kellie Copeland, executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio.
Copeland said the proposal will interfere with the doctor-patient relationship, it is designed to invoke shame and stigma against women seeking abortion and punishes medical professionals.
Ohio Right to Life is labeling D&E surgeries “Dismemberment Abortions” — emotionally charged language similiar to the “Partial-Birth Abortions” wording used to describe intact dilation and extraction, a late-term procedure that was outlawed nationwide in 2003.
Last year, Ohio Right to Life lobbied successfully for a ban on abortions after 20 weeks gestation. Since Ohio Gov. John Kasich took office in January 2011, he has signed some 18 abortion restrictions and he put Gonidakis on the State Medical Board of Ohio.
Fewer abortions were performed in Ohio in 2015 than at any time since the state began keeping records in 1976, according to an Ohio Department of Health report. The report shows that the steady decline that has been occurring over the past 15 years continued in 2015, with a slight drop to 20,976 abortions reported in the state.
Ohio Right to Life’s list of legislative goals for 2017 also include:
• Unborn Child Dignity Act – Requires the humane burial or cremation of an unborn child’s remains following an abortion and increases informed consent.
• Abortion-Inducing Drug Safety Act - Prohibits using drugs off-label to induce abortions; requires abortion facilities to inform women that chemical abortions can possibly be reversed to save an unborn child’s life.
• Down Syndrome Non-Discrimination Act – Prohibits abortions from taking place for the sole reason of a Down syndrome diagnosis.
• Pregnancy and Parenting Support Act - Provides funding for the work of life-affirming pregnancy centers across the state.
• Fetal Organ Trafficking Ban - Prohibits the exchange of any form of compensation for fetal tissue or organs, and would describe the legal penalties for engaging in this trade.
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