The Ohio legislature has proposed a sweeping pro-life bill with an enforcement mechanism similar to Texas’s recently enacted law, empowering private citizens to sue anyone who “knowingly engages in conduct that aids or abets the performance or inducement of an abortion.”
While the Texas law, which took effect in September after the Supreme Court declined to review it, prohibits abortions after a heartbeat is detected, the Ohio version appears to outlaw helping an individual seeking any abortion, regardless of gestation time. Since then, however, the Supreme Court has agreed to hear challenges to the Texas law in the new term in November.
Sponsored by Republican State Representatives Jena Powell and Thomas Hall, along with 33 Republican co-sponsors, the 2363 Act proposed on Tuesday also forbids paying for an abortion through insurance, according to the language of the legislation.
Exceptions are afforded to those sued if they aide an abortion that was “designed or intended to prevent the death of a pregnant mother and the physician made reasonable medical efforts under the circumstances to preserve both the life of the mother and the life of her unborn child in a manner consistent with conventional medical practice.”
On the chamber floor, Powell refuted the idea of a constitutional right to an abortion, suggesting that the 1973 Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision is based on precarious legal foundations. The lawmaker said her bill derives some provisions from the Texas law, adding that it “utilizes the enforcement mechanism from the successful Texas Heartbeat Act.”
The Biden administration recently sued Texas over the heartbeat law, as well as asked the Supreme Court to block it, arguing that “It is settled constitutional law that ‘a state may not prohibit any woman from making the ultimate decision to terminate her pregnancy before viability,’ but Texas has done just that.”
Unlike its Texas counterpart, the Ohio law does not set a benchmark for a legal abortion timeline, potentially leaving it open to encompass all abortions ranging from one week of pregnancy to the last trimester.
Pro-life non-profit Live Action has been at work to bolster anti-abortion campaigns like Powell’s across the nation. In connection to a recent Los Angeles event, the organization said it is collaborating with “leaders across the nation starting with Representative Powell” to end abortion.
“The 2363 campaign, which kicked off in front of thousands at the Santa Monica Pier, aims to ensure every American knows that abortion is the leading cause of death for children, and to ultimately save every child,” Live Action said in a press release about the bill.
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