Ohio bill would ban abortion in event Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade

Ohio bill would ban abortion in event Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade
© Greg Nash

A Republican state representative in Ohio has introduced legislation that would ban abortion in nearly all cases in the state in the event that the Supreme Court ever overturns Roe v. Wade.

Under HB 538, abortions would be outlawed in the state, if the landmark decision were to be reversed, except in cases where the procedure is necessary to prevent the death of a pregnant woman or “serious risk of the substantial and irreversible impairment of a major bodily function of the pregnant woman.”

The legislation does not include exceptions in cases of rape and incest.


Under the bill those who “purposely” cause or induce an abortion by “prescribing, administering, personally furnishing a drug or substance," or by “using an instrument or other means” would be found guilty of “criminal abortion,” which it defines as a fourth-degree felony.

Physicians could also face charges for “abortion manslaughter,” which the bill labels a first-degree felony charge, for performing the procedures.

"Ohio is a pro-life state," state Rep. John Becker (R), who is sponsoring the measure, said in a statement obtained by the Cleveland Scene on Wednesday.

“If and when the Supreme Court decides to return the issue of abortion back to the states, we want to be prepared for what comes next,” he continued.

Though the bill has already earned the backing of some anti-abortion advocates and local Republicans, Lauren Blauvelt-Copelin, who works with the Planned Parenthood Advocates of Ohio, knocked the measure in a statement to The Associated Press.

“Anti-abortion extremists are at it again," she told the news agency. "House Bill 538 is the 10th ban introduced in the last year, proving leaders in the Ohio General Assembly are only focused on eliminating legal access to abortion and neglecting everything else.”

The Supreme Court is unlikely to overturn Roe v. Wade in the near future but on Wednesday, the Justices heard arguments over a Louisiana abortion law that could see the court incrementally narrow the scope of protections that first emerged in the landmark 1973 decision.

John Kruzel contributed.