COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) – Two bills are now being considered by the Ohio House and Senate that would ban abortion in the state except to save a woman’s life.
Those bills are not law yet. If they pass and the U.S. Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade, Ohio will join 13 other states completely banning abortion.
Meanwhile, local leaders on both sides of the abortion debate are reacting to the unprecedented leak from Supreme Court.
Michael Gondidakis, president of Ohio Right to Life, said they are optimistic that this is the day the organization has been waiting for.
“It’s a monumental moment for our country when the final decision comes down,” Gonidakis said.
Gonidakis said this is a step in the right direction, adding the group has been pushing this in the state legislature for a long time.
“We are currently, at Ohio Right To Life, working on a piece of legislation that will ban all abortions, not just those at six weeks but before six weeks,” Gondidakis said. “We’ve had conversations with Gov. DeWine, leaders with both the House and Senate, and we believe we could get it done.”
Iris Harvey, president of Planned Parenthood of Greater Ohio, said these bills in the Ohio legislature have the state taking steps backward.
“It’s a slippery slope,” Harvey said. “I think that mindset has one thing in mind and that women who can get pregnant should not have control over their body, should not be able to make decisions, and should not have access to preventive care.”
She said overturning Roe v. Wade would be a huge blow to women’s rights and this choice should only be made by the patient and no one else.
“We can’t put ourselves in anybody else’s shoes on why they might choose that,” Harvey said. “What we have to do is have faith that the person who’s making that decision has considered it and, more importantly, they have the constitutional right.”
Harvey said women consider all options before having an abortion. Many times, they choose to do the procedure because they feel they do not have the financial stability to take care of a child. She said banning abortion will hurt those people the most.
“Having an abortion gives women many benefits that, perhaps, proceeding with the pregnancy may be very difficult for them,” Harvey said. “They may not be able to finish school; they may be in a violent personal situation.”
Gonidakis said this is the day pro-life advocates have been waiting for and the Supreme Court should not be playing doctor anymore.
He said Ohio Right to Life will do everything it can to educate mothers about where to find the best healthcare, social services, and necessities for their child.
“Every life is different, and every circumstance is different,” Gonidakis said. “But what I do know is abortion does not lead to anything other than the death of an innocent child. It won’t help you get into college; it won’t help you have other opportunities in life.”
Harvey wants to make sure people know that abortion is still legal in Ohio and Planned Parenthood’s doors are open.
Gonidakis said he would love the Ohio bills to pass so Ohio Right To Life can begin focusing on other issues.
The Ohio Department of Health reported there were about 20,000 abortions performed each year from 2018 to 2020. About five percent of those were from out-of-state and the majority of the women were between the ages of 25-55.