A new Ohio bill could make some abortions punishable by death

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A new anti-abortion bill in Ohio would grant a fetus personhood and add two felonies to the state’s lawbooks. The 723-page House Bill 413 was introduced on Nov. 14, according to Rewire, and would penalize abortion providers and pregnant people over the age of 14 for performing or receiving an abortion in Ohio. The bill also introduces two new charges: “abortion murder” and “aggravated abortion murder.”

If convicted of an "abortion murder," individuals who “purposely perform or have an abortion” face 15 years to life in prison as well as the potential for a minimum $1500 fine.

The "aggravated abortion murder" charge could result in the death penalty. An aggravated abortion murder means someone who "intentionally" performed “an abortion while committing or attempting to commit kidnapping, rape, aggravated arson, arson, aggravated robbery, robbery, aggravated burglary, burglary, trespass in a habitation when a person is present or likely to be present, terrorism or escape.” It's unclear exactly what circumstances this could be describing.

There is little room for exception in the law, even for a life-or-death situation. Measures can be taken if it is “highly probable that the pregnant woman will die from a certain fatal condition,” but otherwise, a practitioner must do whatever they can to protect the fetus — even if it means “attempting to re-implant an ectopic pregnancy into the woman’s uterus.”

An ectopic pregnancy typically occurs when a fertilized egg implants itself in a fallopian tube or ovary instead of the uterus, per Planned Parenthood. The condition occurs in 2 out of every 100 pregnancies and if left untreated, it can cause the affected body part to rupture. The rupturing can lead to internal bleeding, infection and death. It can also be difficult to conceive again if there is damage to the reproductive organs.

Ectopic pregnancies are extremely dangerous, and a procedure to "re-implant" is in fact medically impossible. Nonetheless, this is the second time an Ohio politician has suggested an ectopic fetus could be placed into the womb. In April, Republican state Rep. John Becker co-sponsored another bill, HB 182, which would restrict insurance coverage for abortion and related procedures. However, the law would allow coverage for procedures “intended to re-implant the fertilized ovum into the pregnant woman’s uterus."

State Rep. Candice Keller (R), who co-sponsored the bill, made her intentions clear in a statement to The Columbus Dispatch. “The time for regulating evil and compromise is over,” Keller said. “The time has come to abolish abortion in its entirety and recognize that each individual has the inviolable and inalienable right to life.”

Lauren Blauvelt-Copelin, Planned Parenthood Advocates of Ohio's vice president of government affairs and public advocacy, claimed the legislation will "irreparably harm" Ohio's non-traditional families in a press release provided to Mic. Planned Parenthood is one of the organizations fighting the near-total ban signed by Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine (R) earlier this year.

“This is yet another attack on the sacred physician-patient relationship and on reproductive health care," Blauvelt-Copelin said. "This extreme bill goes to outlandish levels to further restrict Ohioans' decisions around health care and parenting."