Republicans have introduced a new bill to the Ohio legislature that would ban all abortions and punish mothers. House Bill 565 would even prohibit abortions in cases of rape or incest, or when the mother’s life is in danger, Cincinnati.com reported Tuesday.
The bill calls for criminal prosecution for mothers who get abortions, even in the case of rape. It’s an unprecedented step that even the most restrictive state abortion laws have yet to take. Those laws usually ban abortions after a relatively short amount of time, providing for penalties against doctors who perform them.
Bill 565 proposes amending the state’s criminal laws by adding unborn humans to the definition of “person,” according to the report, so any abortion or attempted abortion could be charged as if someone committed an act against any living person.
Rep. Ron Hood (R), who introduced the bill, said: “I believe life begins at conception so the goal of this bill is to, first of all, continue to get the word out that life does begin at conception and move the debate in that direction and to protect unborn Ohioans from being aborted.”
Hood said that as far as criminal charges go, prosecutors would have the discretion to determine what charges would be appropriate, according to Cincinnati.com
Rep. Nino Vitale (R), the bill’s other sponsor, defended the decision to not include exceptions for rape or incest, likening an abortion to a tragedy like rape itself.
“Life isn’t always giving us things by our choice and I don’t want to put a woman through a second trauma after she’s been through such an awful first one,” he told the local outlet.
The bill intentionally challenges existing Supreme Court precedent which makes abortion legal throughout the country.
NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio Executive Director Kellie Copeland believes this is part of the plan.
“Anti-choice extremists from the Ohio Statehouse to the White House are lining up their dominoes to topple Roe v. Wade and punish those who seek or provide abortion care,” Copeland said.
Hood appeared to confirm this, saying “Obviously, Roe v. Wade could be revisited,” according to the report.