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You Paid for it: Ohio defends abortion restriction laws

COLUMBUS (WCMH) - A federal judge recently blocked Ohio’s newest abortion law, which bans abortions on a diagnosis of Down syndrome.

State officials, including the Attorney General’s office, are currently building a legal defense of it that your taxes are going toward. It’s the latest case of Ohio paying to defend abortion restrictions, the legal costs of which may only get larger.

In mid-March, two lawmakers introduced a bill that would ban all abortions in Ohio.

Critics say if passed, that law will end up in litigation and tax dollar-paid lawsuits.

“I think it’s blatantly irresponsible of Ohio lawmakers to introduce, spend time passing laws they know will be challenged,” said Monica Moran with Progress Ohio.

She calls the latest bill a waste of lawmaker time and tax dollars.

“That is costing taxpayers millions and millions of dollars just to defend those,” Moran added> “Attorney General Mike DeWine has challenged and been on the wrong side of history on a number of other lawsuits.”

The American Civil Liberties Union has sued the state of Ohio four times in recent years on laws that restrict abortions that were ruled unconstitutional.

There are no exact numbers to show how much the state has spent defending such laws, but according to the Ohio Legislative Service commission, defending another abortion bill could cost taxpayers from thousands to millions of dollars.

According to the Indiana State Auditor, similar abortion legislation in Indiana ended with the state paying the ACLU $2.8 million dollars. In Texas the state has spent more than $4.5 million since 2013.

“The tragedy is that there were 20 thousand abortions in Ohio last year,” Said Mike Gonidakis with Ohio Right to life. While lawmakers may be aware their legislation will be challenged, Gonidakis said they are just doing what they believe their constituents want. “When Ohioans vote on election day, for our statewide office holders, they are consistently pulling thelevel for the pro-life candidate,” Gonidakis said. Ohio Right to Life did not help draft the latest abortion restricting bill and is currently is reviewing it, but the organization has pushed for abortions bans in the past, “There is a waiting list of people waiting to adopt kids whether they are perfect in the eyes of society or they have Down syndrome, or some other special need,” Gonidakis added.

The primary sponsor of House Bill 565 which bans all abortions in Ohio, is Representative Ron Hood (R-Asheville) who did not respond to repeated requests for comment from NBC4.

The Bills co-sponsor is Representative Nino Vitale, an Urbana Republican, who released this statement to NBC4. "If the 19,543 babies killed per year had a voice and a vote, do you think they would consider this a waste of time and money to protect their lives? I will stand by these women and men and to be their voice, so they may have life. Killing innocent human babies must stop and we must stop regulating abortion, as many pro-life groups do, and end this.”

There are several abortion related bills currently in the Ohio Statehouse. Supporters say their goal may be to take on of them all the way up to the Supreme Court.


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