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Newly Introduced Ohio Bill Mirrors Texas' Abortion Ban

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Wednesday, November 3, 2021   

COLUMBUS, Ohio - Ohio again is jumping into the national debate over abortion access, with a new bill introduced that mirrors Texas' strict abortion ban.

House Bill 480 would ban all abortions in Ohio and allow any person to file a lawsuit against a medical provider who performs the procedure, or who "aids or abets" an abortion. Its backers are calling it the "2363 Act," claiming the number represents the number of abortions performed each day in the United States.

Kellie Copeland, executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio, said the so-called vigilante provision is copied directly from the Texas bill.

"This is such a sick game of ping-pong that Ohio and Texas are playing right now," she said. "The first six-week ban was introduced here, and Texas took it and added the vigilante piece. Now, Ohio is picking it back up and adding a total ban to it. It's incredibly dangerous."

Under HB 480, anyone who performs an abortion could face a fine of up to $10,000. Supporters argue that human life starts at the moment of fertilization and deserves protection. Opponents counter that it's an attack on women's rights and reproductive health.

Last week, a second hearing was heard in the Ohio Senate on an abortion trigger bill, Senate Bill 123, which would ban abortions if the U.S. Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade. Also, Mason became the second Ohio city to prohibit abortion within city limits.

Mason resident Nikki Foster said she believes it puts politics before a person's medical well-being and suspects it's also based on the Texas ban.

"We just don't believe, and we know, that this doesn't reflect our values," she said. "If the Texans can come by and plop this on a city council's desk, this can happen everywhere else, too."

The Supreme Court heard arguments this week regarding a challenge to the Texas law, and Copeland said it's difficult to know if local or state attempts to ban abortion will stick.

"With anti-abortion politicians falling all over themselves to one-up each other, and the state of the U.S. Supreme Court, we really don't know," she said, "but they're trying to strip everyone of their ability to accomplish abortion care, regardless of the reason or where they live."

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This story was produced in association with Media in the Public Interest and funded in part by the George Gund Foundation.


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