Update: On December 10, 2014 the bill failed on the House floor by a vote of 47-40. While we expect this type of legislation to appear next session, the defeat of this extreme bill is a victory.
HB 248, commonly known as the “Heartbeat Bill,” bans abortions after the first fetal heartbeat is detected. Doctors who perform an abortion after detection will be guilty of a fifth degree felony. Abortions are only permitted if there is risk of death or a “serious risk of the substantial and irreversible impairment of a major bodily function of the pregnant woman”. A woman is required to sign a form acknowledging she has received information that the “unborn human individual” has a fetal heartbeat and that she is aware of the statistical probability of bringing her pregnancy to term. Doctors must then declare in writing why an abortion was performed and record and report this information.
HB 248 defines contraceptive as “a drug, device, or chemical that prevents conception.” Additionally, the bill defines conception as “fertilization.”
LCS Legislation Status
Our Take on This Bill
The ACLU of Ohio strongly opposes this bill as it is political interference in a woman’s most personal, private medical decisions.
HB 248 will ban abortions as early as six weeks into pregnancy, which could mean that even before a woman may know she is pregnant, she and her family will not have a full range of medical options available to them.
Additionally, by defining conception as fertilization, this bill could potentially be used to prevent women from accessing contraceptives at a time when they need it most, especially rape and incest victims. If the bill is used to prevent access to the morning after pill, it could actually result in more pregnancies and more abortions.
By imposing one rule for every woman’s pregnancy, legislators are denying basic health care because they disagree with her decision.
Testimony on 11/20/14
Passed out of the House Health and Aging Committee on 11/20/14
Failed to pass the House on 12/10/14
Health and Aging (H)