Ohio House Dems announce plan to repeal abortion laws in wake of Issue 1 win

Ohio House Democrats announced Thursday their new Reproductive Care Act, a law that would repeal various existing laws that directly or indirectly restrict abortion care in Ohio.

Sponsored by Reps. Anita Somani, D-Dublin and Beth Liston, D-Worthington, two Columbus-area practicing physicians, the bill takes aim at a bulk of state laws that are already on the books, including 6-week and 20-week abortion bans, mandatory waiting periods and mandatory transfer agreements that require abortion providers to have partnerships with local hospitals — a law that has long been a thorn in the side of Kettering’s Womens Med.

The bill also proposes adding new data privacy protections, nondiscrimination mandates and civil and criminal reforms to the Ohio Revised Code.

The sponsors said they would not look to repeal the Ohio law that requires a minor to receive parental consent before obtaining abortion care.

Democrats would need significant support from House Republicans in order for the bill to move forward, which is seen as unlikely. On Wednesday, 27 members of the House Pro-Life Caucus signed a letter vowing to “do everything in our power to prevent our laws from being removed based on the perception of our intent.”

The Democrats’ proposal comes just days after Ohioans voted to enshrine abortion access into the constitution, guaranteeing an individual’s reproductive autonomy and blocking the state from enacting or enforcing laws that infringe upon that right.

That amendment, which officially enters the Ohio Constitution on Dec. 7, will give abortion-rights advocates a firmer platform to launch challenges against the state’s existing abortion restrictions — the same ones Democratic lawmakers are taking aim at through their new proposal. The legal challenges are seen as a considerably more likely method to remove abortion restrictions from Ohio law.

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