Statehouse Preview: Week of December 11

On Wednesday, state lawmakers will meet for the final time in 2017, and appear likely to pass at least one new law restricting women’s access to reproductive healthcare. If approved and signed by Gov. Kasich, this would make 20 bills limiting the right to an abortion enacted into law since 2011.

Reproductive healthcare bills to watch this week:

HB214 (LaTourette and Merrin) Down Syndrome Abortion Ban – this legislation would make it a fourth degree felony for a doctor to perform an abortion if a woman’s reasons for ending a pregnancy may include a Down syndrome diagnosis. The bill, which has already passed in the House, is up for a vote tomorrow in the Senate Health, Human Services and Medicaid committee and, if passed, could go to the full Senate as early as Wednesday. Virtually identical Senate legislation (SB164, LaRose) is likely to be scheduled for a House vote on Wednesday meaning that either bill could have the necessary approval by both chambers necessary to land on the Governor’s desk this week.

  • Senate Session (possible vote on HB214) will take place at 1:30 pm on Wednesday
  • House Session (possible votes on SB164, HB258-see below) will take place at 1:30 pm on Wednesday

HB258 (Hagan, Hood) Six Week Abortion Ban – this bill, also referred to as the “Heartbeat bill” would outlaw abortion at the earliest detection of a fetal heartbeat, which can occur as early as six weeks–earlier than many women learn they are pregnant. The same measure was vetoed by Governor Kasich last year. The House Health Committee will hold a vote on HB258 at its Wednesday morning meeting.

SB28 (Uecker) Fetal Tissue – this measure would require that fetal remains resulting from a surgical abortion at an abortion facility be disposed of by cremation or burial. The measure treats the same fetal material differently if it results from an abortion procedure compared to a miscarriage, and would significantly add to the cost of a legal abortion. The bill is up for a 2nd hearing featuring testimony from bill proponents in the Senate Government Oversight and Reform Committee, an 11-member panel with only one female member.

Other legislation set to move before lawmakers leave for winter break:

HB1 (Sykes, Manning) – Dating Protection Orders – this bill expand the definition of domestic violence to extend important legal protections to intimate partners who are not married and do not live together. The measure was a priority for the House and, if passed by the Senate Judiciary Committee Tuesday, could be on the Senate floor Wednesday in time to become law before year’s end.

SB4 (Kunze, Oelslager) – Human Trafficking – this measure would create a process for victims of human trafficking who have been found not guilty or had their cases dismissed to have their criminal records expunged so they can avoid the negative consequences of a potential background check when seeking employment or housing.

Both the House and Senate will hold hearings on “Stand Your Ground” legislation to relax Ohio’s gun laws. SB180 (Uecker, Hottinger) will receive a third hearing in the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday, while HB228 (Johnson, LaTourette) will be up for a second hearing in the House Federalism and International Relations Committee on Wednesday.

Stop the Bans. This week, we need to reach out to lawmakers to tell them to stay out of deeply personal and complicated decisions that should be left to a woman, her family and her doctor.

Urge your State Representative to end the attacks on abortion access, including the six-week abortion ban (HB258) and the Down syndrome abortion ban (SB164). You can also contact your State Senator and ask them to oppose the Down Syndrome Abortion Ban (HB214). If you prefer, you can use this email form created by our partners at NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio to urge your legislators to oppose the two bills most likely to be sent to Governor Kasich’s before the end of 2017.