Pro-life lawmakers in Ohio hope to save thousands of unborn babies’ lives through new state legislation modeled on the Texas heartbeat law.
The Cincinnati Enquirer reports Ohio state Reps. Jena Powell, R-Arcanum, and Thomas Hall, R-Madison Township, introduced the 2363 Act (state House Bill 480) on Tuesday to allow private citizens to sue abortionists for aborting unborn babies.
The number 2,363 represents the number of unborn babies who are aborted every day in the United States, Powell and Hall said.
“The sanctity of human life, born and preborn, must be preserved in Ohio,” Powell said in a statement. “The 2363 Act is about protecting our fundamental, constitutional right to be born and live. Abortion kills children, scars families and harms women. We can and must do better.”
Similar to the Texas law, their bill would allow private enforcement of an abortion ban, meaning people may file lawsuits against abortionists and anyone who “aids or abets” in the killing of an unborn baby. Exceptions would be allowed if the mother’s life is at risk. Abortionists convicted under the legislation could be penalized with a $10,000 fine per abortion.
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“Representative Powell and I, as the two youngest serving members in the Ohio House, are part of the generation that will end abortion in Ohio and across America,” Hall said in a statement. “It is vital that we come together at this pivotal moment to lead in defense of the most vulnerable.”
The Right to Life Action Coalition, Dayton Right to Life, Created Equal and other pro-life organizations support the legislation.
Lila Rose, founder and president of Live Action, also added her support, saying: “The science is crystal clear – human life begins at the moment of fertilization. The 2363 Act would write into law the truth that every single preborn child deserves protection and no child should be discriminated against based on race, gender, medical diagnosis, or age.”
In September, Texas became the first state to be allowed to enforce a pre-viability abortion ban. The Texas heartbeat law prohibits abortions once an unborn baby’s heartbeat is detectable, about six weeks of pregnancy. Pro-life leaders estimate the law has saved more than 3,000 babies’ lives since it went into effect Sept. 1.
However, the Biden administration and many pro-abortion groups are challenging the law, and its future remains uncertain. The U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments regarding the private enforcement mechanism in the Texas law earlier this week. It is not clear when the justices will rule.
In Ohio, a total abortion ban like the 2363 Act could save tens of thousands of babies’ lives every year. In 2020, 20,605 unborn babies were aborted, according to state health statistics.
In 1973, the Supreme Court took away the states’ ability to protect unborn babies from abortion under Roe v. Wade, and instead forced states to legalize abortion on demand. Roe made the United States one of only seven countries in the world that allows elective abortions after 20 weeks.
Right now, states still are prohibited from banning abortions before an unborn baby is viable. However, the Supreme Court agreed to consider a Mississippi law that directly challenges this precedent on Dec. 1.
Since Roe, nearly 63 million unborn babies have been legally aborted in the U.S. Polls consistently show that a strong majority of Americans support strong restrictions on abortion including heartbeat laws that protect unborn babies at their earliest stage of life.