Ohio Republican Gov. Mike DeWine on Wednesday signed a bill into law requiring doctors to try to preserve life in the rare case that a baby is born alive following an attempted abortion — or face criminal penalties.
Senate Bill 157 also requires doctors to report cases of babies born alive following an abortion procedure and bans clinics that provide abortions from working with physicians who “teach or provide instruction, directly or indirectly, at a medical school or osteopathic medical school affiliated with a state university or college … any state hospital, or other public institution.”
The bill had passed the state legislature along party lines, with Republicans in support of the measure and Democrats against it.
Republican state Sen. Terry Johnson, who sponsored the bill, thanked DeWine following the bill signing “for standing up for Ohio’s newborns and protecting life at its most vulnerable stage,” adding: “Every child, no matter the circumstances surrounding his or her birth, deserves our compassion and care.”
Opponents have argued that such measures restrict abortion access by threatening health care providers. It is already homicide in the US to intentionally kill an infant that is born alive.
“At this moment, we’re at a crisis point for abortion access in Ohio and across the country. Anti-abortion politicians have made it their job to bury abortion providers under so many TRAP laws that providing and accessing essential health care to Ohioans has become an obstacle course,” said Kersha Deibel, CEO of Planned Parenthood Southwest Ohio Region, in a statement Wednesday criticizing the new law and vowing to “continue to fight.”
A similar “born alive” abortion law was passed in neighboring Kentucky in January and took effect without Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear’s signature.
Clashes over abortion rights have been front-and-center as the Supreme Court weighs separate challenges to the landmark Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion nationwide.
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