No Action on 20 Week Abortion Ban from Ohio Pro-Choice Groups
The anti-choice movement in Ohio got a win on Tuesday, when the ban on abortions after 20 weeks officially went into effect. Its only exception is if the mother’s life is at risk, but it doesn’t bend in cases of rape or incest. Gov. John Kasich signed it into law in December.
Other than a short response in an email, NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio has remained largely silent on the ban since its enactment. It’s been ruled unconstitutional in other states by federal courts, including Arizona and Utah. Still, it isn’t preventing more states from trying it on their own. Iowan representatives approved their own 20 week ban around the same time on Tuesday, which also makes it a felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison.
Despite vehement opposition at the legislation’s signing, Ohio’s ban has yet to see any legal challenges. Planned Parenthood and ACLU of Ohio have yet to indicate plans for a lawsuit, and when asked about NARAL Ohio’s plans for litigation, their press representative sent a statement of dissent from their executive director, Kellie Copeland:
“Unfortunately, this is another in a string of laws signed by Gov. John Kasich that interferes with the doctor-patient relationship and the practice of medicine in Ohio. All women, regardless of their income, need access to the full range of reproductive healthcare options. By passing such draconian abortion bills, this legislature is creating two Ohios: one for women who have the means to travel to another state for abortion care, and one for women who lack those resources.”
Laws restricting abortion rights have long been labeled classist. A woman of greater wealth would hypothetically never have to worry about suffering from limited reproductive freedom; she can always get a ticket to somewhere with better access. A single mother of two who works two jobs while hemorrhaging money for childcare can’t take the time off work and bear the travel costs.
As for the women affected by the bill — who have carried their wanted pregnancy for five months and have learned of a life-threatening or -damaging fetal defect — they now have no options instead of just bad ones. Abortions after 20 weeks are extremely rare, occurring 1.3 percent of the time, and are performed in circumstances that impose unnecessary pain and suffering on the child and the family.