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Ohio Senate passes Dismemberment Abortion Ban

The Ohio Senate voted 24-9 Tuesday in favor to pass Senate Bill 145, the Dismemberment Abortion Ban.

Senator Matt Huffman

Ohio Right to Life calls the legislation, sponsored by Senators Matt Huffman (R-Lima) and Steve Wilson (R-Maineville), the next step in the national effort to end abortions.

“It’s the civil rights issue of our time,” Huffman said. “This is about a child’s right to be born and not ripped apart inside the womb.”

If the bill passes the House of Representatives in the fall, it will be the 18th pro-life bill to become law in Ohio during the past seven years.

Mike Gonidakis, president of Ohio Right to Life

“With as much as we’ve accomplished in the last six years, our dismemberment ban is arguably the most significant and groundbreaking legislation to date,” said Mike Gonidakis, president of ORTL. “For the first time since the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban, we’re advancing legislation that addresses the brute force of abortion head-on. Every year in Ohio, thousands of babies are brutally dismembered by the abortion industry, ripped limb from limb and extracted piece by piece.”

Dismemberment abortion, otherwise known as dilation and evacuation (D&E), is a procedure in which the abortionist first dilates the woman’s cervix and then uses steel instruments to dismember and extract the baby from the uterus. The D&E abortion procedure is usually performed between 13 and 24 weeks into the pregnancy, when the baby is somewhere between the size of a lemon and a cantaloupe, according to ORTL.

With as much as we’ve accomplished in the last six years, our dismemberment ban is arguably the most significant and groundbreaking legislation to date. ~Mike Gonidakis

“Folks really don’t hear a lot about this procedure,” Huffman noted. “They turn away from it because they don’t want to hear what happens – it’s brutal.”

In 2015, the Ohio Department of Health reported nearly 3,000 D&E abortions in the state of Ohio.

“The brutality of dismemberment abortion has already been vetted and verified by the Supreme Court,” Gonidakis said. “If passed, this bill could set the stage for a winnable battle in the Supreme Court. If partial-birth abortion is gruesome enough to outlaw, why not dismemberment abortion? It’s far past time that Ohio leaves the archaic confines of Roe v. Wade behind. Dismembering a human person is wrong, and it is a shame that we even have to debate that.”

There is a concern the ban might be challenged in court. But most pro-lifers feel and hope it will reach the U.S. Supreme Court based on earlier rulings.

In the Court’s opinion, Justice Anthony Kennedy, the Court’s swing-vote on abortion, indicated a willingness to consider the harms of dismemberment abortions. “No one would dispute that for many, D&E is a procedure itself laden with the power to devalue human life,” he stated at the time.

The Dismemberment Abortion Ban is built in part on the precedent set in Gonzales v. Carhart (2007) which upheld the federal Partial-Birth Abortion Ban, scaling back the scope of Roe v. Wade. In the Court’s opinion, Justice Anthony Kennedy, the Court’s swing-vote on abortion, indicated a willingness to consider the harms of dismemberment abortions. “No one would dispute that for many, D&E is a procedure itself laden with the power to devalue human life,” he stated at the time.

Gonidakis is confident the legislation will reach Ohio Gov. John Kasich’s desk and be signed into law. “It will pass,” he said. “I have no doubt about that. We have wonderful pro-life legislators and a pro-life governor.”

NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio of Columbus issued a statement which said the Ohio Senate has ignored the U.S. Constitution and the advice of physicians by passing the ban.

Deputy Director Jaime Miracle said: “This ban forces women seeking an abortion to seek out less-safe procedures, but today we saw from state lawmakers that they just don’t care. The decision about whether and how to terminate a pregnancy should be up to a woman and her doctor. They don’t need political interference driven by inflammatory, biased rhetoric.”

NARAL’s statement added that “medical experts like the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists oppose bills like these. They feel doctors will be forced by ill-advised, unscientifically-motivated policy to provide lesser care to patients. This bill is just another unconstitutional attack on access to abortion care, just like the other 18 restrictions that Governor Kasich signed during his tenure.”

The Ohio House is expected to pick up the bill when it returns to session this fall.

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