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State Legislators Double Down on Most Restrictive Abortion Law in Nation

Mike Brickner,
ACLU of Ohio
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November 10, 2012

Yesterday, retiring Ohio GOP Congressman Steve LaTourette made national headlines while discussing the recent presidential election. He said:

My wife’s a Democrat, and she was so close to voting for Mitt Romney. But then, you know, Mourdock and Akin opened their mouth, and we sent [voters] running back to the Democratic Party, because they think we’re nutty […] We have to get out of people’s lives, get out of people’s bedrooms, and we have to be a national party…or else we’re going to lose.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem like Rep. LaTourette’s message reached his colleagues in the Ohio General Assembly, as news broke yesterday that legislators may have reached a compromise on Ohio House Bill 125 which would ban essentially all abortions in the state. Ohio’s “lame duck” legislative session starts next week, and legislators indicate they may pass HB 125 before the end of the year.

It seems some state legislators learned nothing from the recent 2012 elections. Issues like cuts to funding for Planned Parenthood and access to contraception became major campaign points. Several federal candidates were embroiled in controversy after they expressed support for bans on abortion even in the case of rape or incest. And what was the result? Women in swing states—like Ohio—became increasingly concerned about their ability to make healthcare decisions. The gender gap between pro-choice and anti-choice candidates widened, and many candidates who took extreme positions on access to reproductive healthcare were defeated. Voters who care about women’s health care made it clear that there are political costs to politicians’ attempts to interfere.

All of which begs the question, why are Ohio politicians now doubling down on the most radical abortion restrictions in the nation? Did they not see the election results or do they just not care about what women have to say?

From its introduction, HB 125 has been a sideshow in the statehouse, with legislators allowing fetuses to “testify” in committee, among other tactics. The bill has caused deep divisions even among Ohio’s anti-choice organizations with Ohio Right to Life opposing HB 125 as too radical to withstand a court challenge, leading to several of its chapters breaking away.

And this isn’t just about Ohio. Across the country, out-of-touch state legislators remain poised to push anti-abortion proposals. When they do, let’s make sure they don’t get away with it. Share this post so we all remember that the threat to women’s health care persists. And get ready to stand up to make your voice heard when state legislators return to your state’s capitol. We’ve fought off some serious attacks, and we can’t be silent now.

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