A medical exam room. File photo from MaxPixels.net.
The newest bill targeting abortion providers in Ohio targets a statistically rare case in which a fetus is alive after an attempted abortion.
Senate Bill 157, introduced this week by two Republican legislators who are also physicians, creates a first-degree felony manslaughter offense for a medical professional who fails to save the live of “a child born by attempted abortion who is alive when removed from the uterus of the pregnant woman.”
A doctor who performs an abortion in an ambulatory surgical facility “or other location that is not a hospital,” which encompasses clinics under Planned Parenthood’s purview, must “provide post-birth care,” call for emergency medical assistance and “arrange for the transfer of the newborn to a hospital,” according to the bill.
Those getting the abortions are held harmless in the bill, and are in fact empowered to file civil action for “wrongful death of the woman’s child” if a doctor does not take measures to sustain the life of the child after the attempted abortion, according to the bill’s language.
The bill is sponsored by state Sens. Terry Johnson, R-McDermott, and Steve Huffman, R-Tipp City. Johnson sponsored a similar bill in the last General Assembly, a bill which passed the Senate but never made it past a House committee.
The bill also requires the creation of a “child survival form” for any child born alive after an abortion or attempted abortion.
The form would include the attending physician’s name and address of the facility where the abortion was performed, along with the type of abortion, gestational age and complications involved.
The form would remain confidential, but would be reported to the state. The state already collects abortion information in an annual report.
The state’s abortion report last year showed not only a decline in abortions overall, but little to no data on late-term abortions, those that have the likelihood of a child being “born alive.”
The 2020 report noted 20,102 “induced pregnancy terminations” in the state, 61% of which were at less than nine-weeks gestation. Nearly 27% were induced at nine to 12 weeks, and 2,100 at 13 to 18 weeks.
Of the 356 abortions reported at 19 or more weeks, only one was considered viable.
In 2018 abortion surveillance data from the CDC, the most recent available, 92.2% of abortions nationally were performed at less than 13 weeks, and 1% were performed at 21 weeks or greater gestation.
Abortion is legal in Ohio up to 22 weeks gestation.
The bill will be assigned to a Senate committee to be reviewed and allow for supporting and opposing testimony.
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