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The Statehouse News Bureau provides educational, comprehensive coverage of legislation, elections, issues and other activities surrounding the Statehouse to Ohio's public radio and television stations.

New Ohio bill proposes the strictest abortion ban yet

 Ohio House of Representatives [Jo Ingles / Statehouse News Bureau]
Ohio House of Representatives

A new bill fashioned after a Texas abortion law has been introduced in the Ohio Legislature, and it’s already scheduled for its first hearing.

This bill goes further than the abortion bans currently under consideration by lawmakers. Like the new Texas law, this legislation would also allow private citizens to take civil action against a person performing or inducing an abortion.

The bill also allows individuals to take legal action against others who help someone get an abortion. More than a third of the members of the Ohio House, all Republicans, have signed onto the bill as sponsors or co-sponsors.

The new bill is scheduled to get its first hearing later this week.

There are two other pieces of legislation in the Ohio Legislature known as "trigger" bills. They would ban abortion immediately if the U.S. Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade next month. A leaked draft opinion earlier this month indicated the nation’s high court could overturn the landmark 1973 decision that allows abortion nationwide and send the issue back to the states to decide. If that happens, the majority of members in Ohio's legislature are poised to ban abortion.

The House proposal has already had two hearings. A companion bill in the Senate has yet to have its first hearing. Senate President Matt Huffman (R-Lima) says he wants to wait to see the eventual court ruling before approving language for an abortion ban in Ohio. Huffman said he wants the language to be constitutional and effective. But he said he does want an abortion ban. About a third of the Ohio House has already signed on as co-sponsors to the bill under consideration there.

There's another move that's being considered. Attorney General Dave Yost and Gov. Mike DeWine, both Republicans, are looking into whether a 2019 law that's been put on hold by a federal court might be able to go into effect after the potential U.S. Supreme Court ruling. The so-called “heartbeat” law bans abortion as soon as a fetal heartbeat can be detected, about six weeks into a pregnancy, before many people even know they are pregnant.

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