A bill has formerly been introduced in the Ohio Senate and is being called a “game-changer” in the abortion debate.
Senate Bill 145 – the Dismemberment Abortion Ban – is sponsored by Ohio State Senators Matt Huffman and Steve Wilson. “This is the civil rights issue of our time,” said Sen. Huffman, a Republican from Lima who represents Ohio’s 12th District. “This is about a child’s right to be born and not ripped apart inside the womb,” he said.
The legislation, which has seven more co-sponsors, will prohibit dilation and evacuation (D&E) abortions, the most common abortion procedure used during the second trimester.
What happens in a D&E abortion? The woman’s cervix is dilated, and the abortionist uses steel instruments to dismember and extract the baby from the uterus. The head is the most difficult part to remove, so it is crushed and taken out in pieces, according to information from Ohio Right to Life (ORTL).
“This is just inhumane,” said ORTL President Mike Gonidakis. “The baby’s body is ripped and torn apart and then assembled back together on a steel tray to make sure no parts were left inside the mother. It’s just barbaric and reprehensible.”
In a statement from ORTL Executive Director Devin Scribner, he called the legislation a game-changer. “The law is about shining a light on the brutality of a very common procedure happening daily in Ohio and across the nation,” he said. According to the Ohio Department of Health, nearly 3,000 D&E abortions were performed in Ohio in 2015 – about 8.2 per day.
“No one would dispute that for many, D&E is a procedure itself laden with the power to devalue human life.” Justice Anthony Kennedy
“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.”
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.”
Twenty-four of the Senate’s 33 members are pro-life, while the Ohio House holds a two-thirds pro-life majority. Gov. Kasich has signed 21 laws to protect life during his administration.
The biggest concern might be a challenge in the court system. But most pro-lifers feel and hope it will reach the U.S. Supreme Court.
This legislation was crafted on the precedent set in Gonzales v. Carhart in 2007 which upheld the federal ban on partial birth abortions. In that decision, swing-vote Justice Anthony Kennedy took into consideration the harms of the dismemberment abortions and was deeply troubled by the procedure, according to the New York Times. He noted, “No one would dispute that for many, D&E is a procedure itself laden with the power to devalue human life.”
Gonidakis believes the bill will hold up in court and be found constitutional. He added SB 145 will save thousands of babies not only in Ohio, but across the country. “We hope it does make it to Washington, D.C.,” he said.
A statement from NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio said SB 145 is unconstitutional because it applies restrictions before the point of fetal viability. Executive Director Kellie Copeland stated, “A woman must be able to make her own decisions, with the advice of the health care professional she trusts and without interference from politicians. That’s why medical experts like the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists oppose this type of measure. We can all agree that a woman’s health, not politics, should drive important medical decisions.”
[bctt tweet=”In this state its a crime to desecrate a corpse but its legal to rip apart a living baby. Sen Matt Huffman” username=”sohiovoice”]
Copeland calls the legislation a broad attempt to end access to safe, legal abortion in Ohio. “Ohioans do not want politicians interfering in our medical decisions. It’s time to stop criminalizing women’s health care, interfering with the personal decisions of women, and substituting political agendas for the expertise of health care professionals.”
Gonidakis said the ban will not end abortions, but rather stop the dismemberment procedure.
Sen. Huffman calls SB 145 an end to suffering for an unborn baby. “In this state, it’s a crime to desecrate a corpse, but it’s legal to rip apart a living baby – I don’t get it. If it’s alive, and in my opinion it is, then it feels pain. This law will protect that baby from feeling horrible pain.”