Anti-abortion activists in Ohio want to bar women from getting abortions solely because they do not wish to have a baby with Down syndrome, rallying around a bill endorsed by the National Right to Life Committee.
The Ohio House and Senate will likely pass the bill sometime this fall, according to the New York Times, because most of the state’s legislators oppose abortion and have been endorsed by the committee. However, Ohio Gov. John Kasich (R) has not yet taken a position on the bill, so it is unclear if he will authorize it, though he has signed many other abortion restrictions into law.
Because women can undergo prenatal testing to see if their baby will be afflicted with certain diseases and disorders, between 50 and 85 percent of women who discover that their baby might have Down syndrome have chosen an abortion, according to a review of studies conducted between 1995 and 2011. But that number has declined over the years when compared to earlier studies conducted in the 1990s, the review notes.
Critics of the bill say that the ban would be difficult to enforce and likely violates the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade ruling, which delineates that women can choose to get an abortion at any point until the fetus is viable. It also affects the definition of the right to choose an abortion as a private matter between the patient and her doctor.
“These legislative proposals interfere with the doctor-patient relationship and exploit complicated issues that can arise during pregnancy in the worst way,” Kellie Copeland, executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio, told the Cincinnati Enquirer. “Medical decisions should not be made in the Statehouse, they should be made in doctors’ offices based on sound medical science.”
Most Americans remain opposed to overturning the controversial Supreme Court decision in Roe v. Wade, which 40 years ago legalized abortion at least in the first three months of pregnancy, according to a poll released Wednesday.
The poll by the Pew Research Center found that 63 percent of Americans believe that Roe v. Wade should not be completely overturned, compared to 29 percent who believe it should be. These opinions have changed little from surveys conducted in 2003 and 1992, Pew reported.
While many of the social issues have changed over the years, American opinions really haven’t changed all that much. Accessibility to abortion has certainly gotten tighter. 4 states are down to having one clinic left and if anti-choice activists have their way, there will be no abortion services in Mississippi, South Dakota, Arkansas, or North Dakota. Clinic directors and doctors are often stalked. In no other business would this kind of behavior be legally allowed.
Yesterday marked the 39th anniversary of Roe v Wade. It went quietly unnoticed by many. For those of us who grew up in a pre-Roe era, it didn’t go quite as quietly. Vintage women all knew someone or several someones with a horrible abortion story that happened before January 22, 1973.
There was Robin, the girl I went to high school with who got an illegal abortion from some butcher over in Elkton, of all places. She ended up in the hospital with serious complications and the story made the local paper. It didn’t give Robin’s name but somehow it leaked out. It wasn’t hard to figure out who was missing and in the hospital either. Arrests were made.
Then there were the 3-4 young professional women I knew who got abortions, testing the nearly legal procedure in Washington, D.C. The procedure was expensive and multi-stepped. It involved lawyers, psychiatrists and doctors. As I recall the entire cost was around $1000 in the early 70’s. Those were big bucks in those days.