***UPDATE*** The committee voted 9-3 to pass HB 135. This vote followed the rejection of FOUR amendments asking for increased support for families choosing to raise a child with Down Syndrome. Two amendments were rejected by Committee Chair Rep. Tim Derickson without a vote.
- REJECTED Amendment 1: Paid maternity leave for women choosing to raise a child with Down Syndrome. Amendment was tabled by committee vote.
- REJECTED Amendment 2: Paid sick leave for women choosing to raise a child with Down Syndrome. Amendment was rejected without a vote by Committee Chair Rep. Tim Derickson.
- REJECTED Amendment 3: Financial assistance for women choosing to raise a child with Down Syndrome. Amendment was rejected without a vote by Committee Chair Rep. Tim Derickson.
- REJECTED Amendment 4: Request to delay implementation of law if passed, from 90 days to 120 days after bill signing. Amendment was tabled by committee vote.
Members of the Ohio House Committee on Community and Family Advancement are trampling on the doctor-patient relationship. They are specifically targeting women and families making a difficult decision following a prenatal diagnosis of Down Syndrome. House Bill 135 unconstitutionally removes the ability of a physician to offer abortion options to women following a positive test. NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio opposes any legislation that removes a woman’s right to access safe and legal abortion care.
NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio Executive Director Kellie Copeland: “Every Ohioan should be free to make their own decisions about whether to continue a pregnancy, put a child up for adoption, or choose an abortion, especially when facing complicated medical diagnosis during a pregnancy. She should be able to do so with the counsel of her doctor, her family, and her faith and not have to worry about political interference.”
Copeland continues: “This legislation does nothing to aid individuals living with Down Syndrome and their families who love and support them. Shame on Ohio Right to Life and the Kasich administration for failing to offer real aid to families living with Down Syndrome. This is another example of their misplaced priorities.”
The Toledo Blade offered terrific analysis of the bill:
Of all the outrageous attacks on women’s health-care choices that Ohio’s anti-abortion movement has advanced in recent years, its latest proposal — a bill that would outlaw abortion after a fetus is diagnosed with Down’s syndrome — is one of the most invasive and extreme yet.
The bill would make Ohio the second state to ban abortions after a fetal anomaly is diagnosed. As many as 90 percent of pregnancies diagnosed with Down’s syndrome end in abortion, because most of the affected families don’t want to — or don’t have the resources to — raise a special-needs child.
Leaders of Ohio Right to Life, one of the chief architects of the bill, frame it as a discrimination issue. This disingenuous justification masks the real goal of the anti-abortion movement: to claw back women’s right to choose.
Lawmakers know that most Ohioans don’t support such extreme restrictions, but the Republican-gerrymandered General Assembly doesn’t represent all citizens equally. More than two-thirds of Ohio lawmakers oppose abortion, even though polls suggest that most Ohio voters favor abortion rights.
NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio offered testimony in opposition to the bill on June 2:
Help build a pro-choice Ohio. Every day, NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio fights to protect access to the full range of reproductive health care options—including preventing unintended pregnancy, bearing healthy children, and safe & legal abortion care. We educate the public about the real threat to women’s healthcare posed by anti-choice legislation and policies. We mobilize pro-choice Ohioans to take political action to defend reproductive rights. And we are the voice for Ohio’s abortion clinics, helping them navigate the increasingly hostile climate created by extremist groups. But we need your help. As a member organization, we rely on your financial support to fund our important legislative, educational, and grassroots activities.