Ohio lawmakers are preparing for the day when the U.S. Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade.
A new bill before the state legislature would restore rights to unborn babies and ban abortions once the infamous case is overturned, the AP reports.
“If and when the Supreme Court decides to return the issue of abortion back to the states, we want to be prepared for what comes next,” said state Rep. John Becker, R-Clermont County, who is sponsoring the bill. “Ohio is a pro-life state.”
Abortions will not immediately become illegal when the U.S. Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade. Instead, the power to ban abortions or keep them legal will return to the states.
Becker’s bill would prohibit abortions in Ohio when that day comes. The only exceptions would be if the mother’s life or health is in jeopardy. According to the Cleveland Scene, the bill includes prison time and fines for doctors convicted of killing unborn babies; women would not be prosecuted.
Ohio’s leading pro-life group, Ohio Right to Life, supports the legislation.
Right now, a handful of states have laws to restore unborn babies’ right to life once Roe v. Wade is overturned. Estimates vary on the number of states that would immediately ban abortions post-Roe, but the number likely will grow. The Utah Senate passed legislation to ban abortions after Roe earlier this week.
In 2019, Tennessee, Arkansas, Kentucky and Missouri also passed laws to ban abortions once Roe v. Wade is overturned.
Some states have tried to ban abortions right away or heavily restrict them through heartbeat laws and personhood legislation, but these laws consistently get struck down in court. When states lose, their taxpayers often are forced to reimburse pro-abortion groups’ legal fees.
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In 1973, Roe v. Wade crippled states’ ability to protect unborn babies from abortion. It made the U.S. one of only seven countries in the world that allows elective abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy. Under the decision, states are not allowed to pass laws to protect unborn babies’ lives prior to viability.
Some hope that the new U.S. Supreme Court justices will overturn the ruling.
The Center for Reproductive Rights released a report at the end of November that analyzes state abortion politics and predicts what would happen if the infamous abortion ruling is overturned.
The report and online map “What if Roe fell?” estimates that 23 states “will likely try to prohibit abortion” if the case is struck down. Those states are: Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, West Virginia and Wisconsin.