COLUMBUS (WCMH) – Lawmakers in the Ohio House of Representatives voted a bill favorably out of committee that seeks to ban abortions in cases where an unborn child has or may have Down Syndrome.
The Ohio House Health Committee held a hearing for House Bill 214, which ended with the majority voting to pass the bill out of committee.
Prior to the committee hearing, pro-choice advocates from NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio unfurled a banner on the steps of the Ohio Statehouse. The banner contains signatures of about 2,000 Ohioans who are petitioning lawmakers to stop abortion bans.
“All these bills have one thing in common,” said Jaime Miracle, deputy director of NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio. “It’s blocking access to healthcare, and these people want their voices heard.”
The bill seeks to prohibit abortions in which an unborn child has or may have a diagnosis of Down Syndrome. Doctors who perform those procedures would be charged with a fourth-degree felony and lose their medical license.
Mike Gonidakis, president of Ohio Right to Life, described the bill as “more of an anti-discrimination bill than it is an abortion bill.”
“We believe all life is sacred, whether you’re white, black, gay or straight, Christian, Muslim, Jew,” Gonidakis said. “Everyone deserves the right to live and grow up to have their God-given potential.”
But pro-choice advocates said the bill interferes with the doctor-patient relationship.
“It’s not our place to judge a woman and her decision on whether or not to continue a pregnancy for whatever reason it is. It is that woman’s decision to make alone, and nobody in this building or anywhere else should be making that decision for someone else,” Miracle said.
The bill still has several hurdles before it could become law. The next step would be a vote on the House floor.