In Ohio, A Pro-Life Bill Would Punish Abortions With The Death Penalty

Ohio Gov. John Kasich has previously vetoed extreme anti-abortion legislation and threatened to do the same with yet another bill, HB 258, if it reaches his desk.Screengrab/CBS This Morning/YouTube

Both women who obtain abortions and those who provide them could be subject to the death penalty under Ohio HB 565.

The Ohio House of Representatives is presently considering a bill that would criminalize abortion and potentially subject women who obtain the procedure and doctors who provide them to the death penalty, CNN reported last week.

The measure also redefines the definition of “person” in Ohio law to include “any unborn human”.

In its current form, House Bill 565 makes no mention of exceptions for life-threatening pregnancies, or pregnancies resulting from rape or incest.

The bill is sponsored by Republican Reps. Ron Hood and A. Nino Vitale, and co-sponsored by a group of 16 other Republican lawmakers that include 14 men and 2 women.

"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 when the bill was introduced.

Though the bill was initially introduced in March, CNN noted three factors that have brought HB 565 back to the fore: “The midterm election, the appointment of conservative Supreme Court Judge Brett Kavanaugh and the passage of the heartbeat bill.”

NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio Executive Director Kellie Copeland said the legislature is particularly concerning due to the number of lawmakers sponsoring a bill that equates abortion with murder.

"This tells you what our opponents ultimately would like to see. They wrote this because they and others would like to see this, in Ohio and in the country." she said. "It was also written to be a direct challenge to Roe v. Wade, and now that conservatives have a majority on the Supreme Court, we can't know for sure that they would protect that ruling."

Governor John Kasich previously vowed to veto another extreme anti-abortion measure — HB 258, dubbed the "heartbeat bill" — that would have banned the procedure as early as six weeks. He vetoed a similar bill in 2016.

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