Reproductive Freedom Legislation

SB 164 – Down Syndrome abortion ban (2017-2018)

To amend section 3701.79 and to enact sections 2919.10 and 2919.101 of the Revised Code to prohibit a person from performing, inducing, or attempting to perform or induce an abortion on a pregnant woman who is seeking the abortion because a fetus has or may have Down Syndrome.

Link to Bill:

Read our September 12, 2017 testimony in opposition to SB 164 before the Senate Health, Human Services, and Medicaid Committee.

SB 164 and its companion bill, HB 214, would prohibit a person from performing an abortion if they have knowledge that the woman’s decision was influenced by her belief that the fetus has down syndrome. This bill would require doctors to submit a report to the Department of Health for every patient that has an abortion, indicating that the patient did not terminate her pregnancy for this reason. If a doctor violates the terms of HB 214, they would be guilty of committing a fourth degree felony and would lose their medical license.

This ban would apply to both pre- and post-viability abortions, and includes no exception for situations in which the woman’s life or health is endangered.

Primary Sponsors:
Secondary Sponsors:
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Health / Human Services / Medicaid (S)
Companion Bill:
HB 214
LSC Legislation Status:
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Our take on this bill:

The ACLU of Ohio opposes this unconstitutional attack on reproductive freedom, which blatantly violates long-standing legal precedent prohibiting bans on abortion before viability.

A woman should be able to decide whether or not to terminate a pregnancy in consultation with those she trusts. HB 214 inappropriately inserts politics into private medical deliberations, and would discourage open, honest communication between a woman and her doctor.

It is not the government’s role to decide what can and cannot pass through a woman’s mind before deciding to have an abortion. This type of ban sets a dangerous precedent, and opens the door for politicians to further intrude into women’s personal health decisions.

The ACLU of Ohio opposes discrimination in all forms, and works to ensure that people with disabilities are treated with equality and dignity. However, this purposely divisive legislation is about restricting abortion, not protecting against discrimination. Instead of wasting more tax dollars on this political crusade against reproductive health care, legislators should focus on addressing the serious concerns of those with disabilities in our communities.

Bill Status:

Introduced in the Senate on 6/13/17

Referred to the Senate Health, Human Services and Medicaid Committee on 6/15/17

Received Committee hearings on 6/27/17, 8/22/17, 9/12/17, and 11/14/17.

Passed the Senate on 11/15/17, 20-12.

Referred to the House Health Committee on 11/28/17.

Received a Committee hearing on 12/6/17.

Passed the House on 12/13/2017

Signed into law by Governor Kasich on 12/22/2017.