Editor’s Note: The Portsmouth Daily Times has edited the original article to clarify the legislation that would order doctors to provide life supporting care on a fetus in the case of a botched abortion, not to operate as previously stated in the original article
COLUMBUS — Two Ohio Senators introduced legislation last week at the statehouse that would order doctors to provide life supporting care on a fetus in the case of a botched abortion.
Senate Bill 157 would define an instance where the doctor “purposely fail to take the measures by the exercise of medical judgment,” as punishable by the first-degree felony of abortion manslaughter.
Abilities to file suit for the women in the performed abortion would also be granted, receiving damage costs and having court and attorney fees covered in a winning case.
The Born-Alive Infant Protection Act has yet to be heard in a Senate committee but has already received reaction from proponents.
“The heart of the Born-Alive Infant Protection Act is quite simple: no helpless newborn child should be left alone to die,” says Mike Gonidakis, president of Ohio Right to Life, in a released statement. “It is our sincere hope that shared human decency will compel legislators at the Ohio Statehouse to come together to protect innocent, born babies desperate for a chance to live.”
Identified as a “pro-life” politician in the release, Johnson echoed the thoughts of ORTL.
“For decades, the pro-abortion industry has hidden behind the cloak of medical terminology in an attempt to dehumanize an unborn child,” he said, receiving endorsements from both the Ohio and Cincinnati Right to Life Political Action Committees in his 2020 campaign. “Let’s be perfectly clear: a baby human being born alive can no longer be termed a ‘tissue mass’ or even a fetus. It is an infant, and it must by any standard of human decency be treated as such. How any group, organization, or individual can turn a cold eye to these precious little ones is beyond me.”
Opponents voiced their side in the senator’s earlier attempt to expand the definition of abortion manslaughter in 2019. Senate Bill 208 passed the Senate in a 24-9 vote but never made it to a vote in the Ohio House of Representatives.
Within the bill’s four hearings, multiple pro-abortion rights organizations testified at the Senate Health, Human Services, and Medicaid Committee of which Johnson is a member. Deputy Director of NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio Jaime Miracle was among them.
“I cannot imagine being a patient, facing a medical crisis during pregnancy, and instead of having my doctor focused on what care is best for me and my individual circumstances and health history, they are concerned about whether the care they have determined is best would result in them going to jail,” reads in-part of her Oct. 22, 2019, testimony. “Patients must be able to trust that their doctors are able to provide the best, compassionate and individualized care, without interference from members of the Ohio legislature.”
Other opponents, such as the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine, found the legislation to be “unnecessary” since federal legislation already exists for the matter. In their view, it would have also placed “inappropriate burdens on physician decision-making and limit the ability of women with high-risk pregnancies from accessing the full range of medically recommended care.”
As Johnson said when introducing his previous bill, he believed it would have been a matter of common ground.
“This legislation should be something that we can all rally around, no matter where we stand in the broader abortion debate, no matter where we fall on the spectrum of opinion between pro-life or pro-choice,” his Oct. 9, 2019, testimony reads. “Surely we are all pro-life when we look down and see an infant who is absolutely helpless and at our mercy.”
Reach Patrick Keck (740)-353-3101 ext. 1931, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or on Twitter @pkeckreporter.
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