Friday, 22 July 2011

Ohio Governor Signs Late-Term Abortion Ban

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Ohio Governor John Kasich (left) signed a bill into law July 20 that will ban late-term abortions except when the life of the mother is in danger. Reporting on the new law, LifeNews.com noted that previously in Ohio, a woman could legally abort her baby through the ninth month of pregnancy. �With the passage of H.B. 78 and the ultimate signature by Kasich, babies who can live outside of their mother�s womb will no longer be subject to death via an abortion,� reported the pro-life news site.

Commenting on the new law, which is scheduled to go into effect in late October, a Kasich spokesman declared that the governor is pro-life, has been pro-life throughout his career and believes strongly in the sanctity of human life. In his own statement the governor declared that life is a gift from God and one way that we express our ongoing gratitude for it is by respecting it. This bill does that in a very fundamental way and Im proud to have signed it into law.

State Senator Peggy Lehner, one of the bills sponsors, pointed out that abortions can currently be performed in Ohio up to the moment of birth, but many doctors agree that a child can live outside the womb after just 22 to 24 weeks. This bill will prevent late-term abortions and help better protect our youngest and most vulnerable citizens.

Mike Gonidakis of Ohio Right to Life, which had lobbied diligently for the legislation, issued a statement saying that in signing the bill Governor Kasich demonstrated to all Ohioans that the health and welfare of mothers and their unborn children are of paramount importance to the state of Ohio.

Gonidakis praised the efforts of Lehner, fellow Senate sponsor Scott Oelslager, as well as Senate President Tom Niehaus. The pro-life members of the Senate demonstrated overwhelming support and their actions will save countless lives in Ohio, said the state Right to Life president. We are proud to add the great state of Ohio to the growing list of states who have partnered in this strategic legislative approach. He noted that five other states have passed the same measure signed by Kasich, and 39 other states have some type of late-term abortion ban in place.

NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio, a pro-abortion group that lobbied against the bill, said in a statement that the new law will unfairly target pregnant women who suffer from heart-breaking complications such as a fetal anomaly or cancer. When a pregnancy endangers a womans health, or there are serious complications, politicians shouldnt interfere, said the groups director Kellie Copeland. She added that the governor and Ohios legislature were endangering womens health because they dont trust women and their doctors to make personal, private decisions for themselves.

Gonidakis agreed that when complications arise in pregnancies, women should receive treatment. But, he added, With todays technology, that does not have to come at the expense of their unborn child. When women suffer from mental illness, they should be treated for the disease that afflicts them pregnancy is not the disease. Womens health can be protected while their child, capable of living on its own outside the womb, is equally protected.

In addition to banning abortions past the twentieth week of pregnancy (unless a doctor can certify that continuing with the pregnancy would place a womans life in danger), the new law also contains language making it clear a mental health exception cant be used to get around the ban especially since a substantial amount of research shows abortions pose mental health risks for women, reported LifeNews.

LifeNews noted that Ohio is home to Martin Haskell, one of the main promoters of the partial-birth abortion method 38 states and Congress have banned, adding that Haskell continues to do abortions late in pregnancy using other procedures at his Cincinnati-area abortion business. According to Gonidakis, banning late-term abortion in the state could save as many as 700 babies annually. A lot of people think abortion is something that happens in the first couple days, he said. You pop a pill and everythings over. Its not.

The Cleveland.com news site reported that in addition to the late-term abortion ban, the Ohio House of Representatives recently passed what has been termed the heartbeat bill, a measure that would ban abortion once a fetal heartbeat is detected. The Senate has not yet voted on the measure. Additionally, reported the Cleveland news site, the state House passed a bill that would restrict insurance coverage for abortions and another that would make it more difficult for minors to get a juvenile court judges permission to get an abortion without parental consent.