The Ohio Senate overwhelmingly approved legislation Wednesday to stop infanticide by ensuring that babies who survive abortions receive basic medical care.
State Senate Bill 157 passed in a 25-6 vote and now heads to the state House for consideration.
The pro-life bill would create penalties for abortionists who fail to preserve the health or life of a child who survives an abortion. It also would require abortionists to report to the Ohio Department of Health when a baby is born alive in a botched abortion.
“The bill acknowledges the simple fact that regardless of the circumstances surrounding his or her birth, every child deserves our compassion and care,” said Sen. Terry Johnson, R-McDermott, a physician and the lead sponsor of the legislation.
The Cincinnati Enquirer reports Democrat state Sen. Cecil Thomas, of North Avondale, questioned the need for such legislation, noting that the law already prohibits abortion manslaughter.
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“Sen. Thomas, you are free to vote however you’d like,” state Sen. Kristina Roegner, R-Hudson, responded, according to the report. “If you would like to vote against a bill that would protect babies that have been born alive, that’s your prerogative.”
After the vote, Allie Frazier, director of communications at Ohio Right to Life, said the bill establishes a much-needed reporting requirement to document when a child is born alive from a botched abortion.
“Ohio Right to Life applauds Senator Huffman and Senator Johnson, both of whom are licensed physicians in Ohio, for their incredible pro-life leadership,” she said. “No baby in Ohio, regardless of the circumstances surrounding of their birth, should be left alone to die. This vital anti-infanticide legislation will ensure that no baby who survives a botched abortion is denied life-saving care.”
Earlier Wednesday, the Senate amended the bill to prohibit abortion facilities from working with doctors at state taxpayer-funded hospitals and medical schools – a measure that could “threaten two Southwest Ohio” abortion facilities, according to the Enquirer.
Both the Planned Parenthood Mount Auburn Health Center and Women’s Med in Dayton could close or be forced to find other doctors if the legislation becomes law.
Babies do survive abortions, though no one is sure exactly how many. In America, most states do not keep track of abortion survivors, but a few do.
Between 2016 and 2018, three states reported 40 babies were born alive after botched abortions. According to the state health data, 11 babies were born alive in Minnesota, 10 in Arizona and 19 in Florida. Texas reported six babies were born alive in botched abortions in 2019. In Michigan, state health reports from 2008 through 2013 indicate that 11 babies were born alive after abortions.
Statistics from the Centers for Disease Control, as well as the personal testimonies of nurses and abortion survivors themselves, also provide evidence that babies survive abortions. According to the CDC, at least 143 babies were born alive after botched abortions between 2003 and 2014 in the U.S., though there likely are more.
A recent analysis by the Charlotte Lozier Institute found that protections for babies who survive abortions are inconsistent across the United States, with fewer than half of states maintaining sufficient protections.