Ohio lawmakers introduced a bill on Monday to ban abortion after 20 weeks, making the state the tenth in the country to introduce such a measure this session.
The bill’s introduction isn’t surprising. Powerful anti-choice group Ohio Right to Life announced its intention in January to push through a 20-week ban, putting it at the top of its policy agenda this session.
“This is our legislative priority,” Michael Gonidakis, who is the president of Ohio Right to Life and also the vice president of the state’s board of health, told the Columbus Dispatch earlier this year.
The group said in a press release that the 20-week ban is meant to challenge Roe v. Wade, which is typically recognized as protecting access to abortion up until 24 weeks, when the fetus is considered “viable.”
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Ohio law currently outlaws abortion after viability.
SB 127, introduced by Republican state Sens. Peggy Lehner and Jay Hottinger, would ban abortion after 20 weeks, which is when, according to the bill, the fetus can feel pain. As Rewire has reported, so-called fetal pain bills are based on faulty medical evidence and disputed by major medical associations, including the American Medical Association and the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.
Ohio lawmakers are also considering a bill that would ban abortion after the detection of a fetal heartbeat, which can happy as early as six weeks into pregnancy.
A 20-week ban recently became law in West Virginia, after the state legislature overrode the Democratic governor’s veto. Virginia, South Carolina, Maryland, Oregon, and New Mexico lawmakers have also introduced 20-week bans.