Ohio Governor John Kasich Signs Bill Making Assisted Suicide a Felony

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Dec 20, 2016   |   12:14PM   |   Columbus, Ohio

Ohio has become the fifth state in the past few years to strengthen protections in law from assisted suicide as pro-life Governor John Kasich has signed a bill to make assisted suicide a felony.

The Ohio Senate voted on House Bill 470, a bill that would make assisting a suicide a felony in Ohio on Thursday December 8. HB 470 had previously passed in the Ohio House last May by a vote of 92 – 5. Yesterday, pro-life Governor John Kasich signed H.B. 470, making assisted suicide a third-degree felony in Ohio, punishable by up to five years in prison.

The bill strengthens Ohio’s protections against assisted suicide, which currently only permit a court to issue an injunction against anyone helping people to kill themselves. The measure was authored by pro-life State Senator Bill Seitz (R-Cincinnati) and worked through the legislature with the help of State Senator Peggy Lehner (R-Kettering) and Senate President Keith Faber.

“Ohio Right to Life thanks Governor Kasich and the Ohio General Assembly for vastly expanding protections for human life in 2016,” said Mike Gonidakis, president of Ohio Right to Life. “By making assisted suicide a felony, Ohio is taking a strong stand against those who prey on the vulnerable and amplifying our opposition to this horrendous practice.”

“From conception until natural death, Ohio is leading the way in honoring the dignity of the human person,” said Gonidakis. “Thanks to the pro-life leadership of Governor Kasich, Ohio has just placed a significant obstacle in the path of those wishing to erode and reverse our protections for the elderly and the terminally ill. As a pro-life state with pro-life leadership, we are showing the country how to turn back the tide of assisted suicide and how to care for some of the most vulnerable members of our human family. Thank you, Governor Kasich, for your pro-life leadership.”

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Seitz, the Cincinnati Republican who authored HB 470, said the legislation mirrors Michigan’s 1998 ban on assisted suicide, which was passed in response to Dr. Jack Kevorkian’s well-publicized campaign.

In the past few years Georgia, Idaho, Louisiana, and Arizona have passed bills to strengthen protection from assisted suicide.