The Ohio House of Representatives Health and Aging Committee will hold its first hearing on a proposed set of new abortion restrictions next week. The restrictions are part of House Bill 200 introduced by Rep. Ron Hood (Ashville) and co-sponsored by 34 of Hood's Republican colleagues.
Hood said his bill would require doctors to provide a woman seeking an abortion with a verbal description of the ultrasound, including an audible heartbeat, if present. "This is making sure that a mother gets to see her baby on an ultrasound, so that when the abortionist tries to tell her it's a clump of cells, she can see that no, this is actually a baby," Hood said.
The legislation would also double the waiting period for an abortion from 24 to 48 hours, require doctors to tell patients how much income the doctor would lose by not performing abortions, and require providers to tell patients seeking an abortion that they face an increased risk of breast cancer.
State policy director for Ohio NARAL, Jaime Miracle says scientific research has repeatedly dismissed the notion of a link between abortion and breast cancer.
"Ron Hood should probably be prosecuted for practicing medicine without a license with his requirement for doctors to lie about the connection between breast cancer and abortion - which according to every reputable medical source does not exist," Miracle said.
On its website, The American Cancer Society says "scientific research studies have not found a cause-and-effect relationship between abortion and breast cancer."
Rep. Hood believes it remains an open question. "There have been scientific studies showing both sides of that and we believe that ought to be relayed to the mother."
A physician who violates any of the requirements of the legislation would be guilty of a first degree felony and subject to a $1 million fine.
Miracle said the bill is an attempt to shame women out of having an abortion. "This bill is full of provision after provision after provision that says Ron Hood and his buddies in the legislature are better decision makers than women when it comes to their health care."
Hood says the bill is about eliminating unnecessary abortions by providing women with more information. He believes even opponents should welcome that.
"I will take them at their word that they're ‘pro-choice'," Hood said. "Well if they're pro-choice, what's wrong with an informed choice?"
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