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Facts of Life:   OHIO LAWS

 

PLEASE NOTE: This list provided by Ohio Right to Life is a summary of pro-life Ohio statutes, administrative regulations, and case law on selected life issues. In addition to state law, there are federal laws and regulations as well as local ordinances to consider. For a comprehensive list of pro-life laws and regulations in Ohio please contact Ohio Right to Life.

LATE-TERM ABORTION

Abortions are legal in Ohio through the point of viability. In 2011 Governor Kasich signed into law (O.R.C. 2919.17, 2919.171, 2919.18) the Late-Term Abortion Ban. This law mandates that all abortionists who intend to perform an abortion on pre-born babies that are 20 weeks gestation or older must first perform a test of viability. If the pre-born baby is deemed viable abortion would be illegal.

PARTIAL-BIRTH ABORTION
O.R.C. 2919.151

On June 28, 2004, Ohio became the first state to have a ban on partial-birth abortions go into effect since the U.S. Supreme Court struck down Nebraska’s ban in 2000. In May of 2000, Governor Taft signed a new law passed by the Ohio legislature. On December 17, 2003, the majority of a 3-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit reversed a district court ruling and held that this statute was constitutional (Women’s Medical Professional Corp. v. Taft, 353 F.3d 436). The full 6th Circuit denied a petition to rehear the case and the law went into effect when the plaintiffs decided not to appeal to the Supreme Court. Ohio’s law does include a health exception approved by the Supreme Court in Planned Parenthood v. Casey, and it does define partial-birth abortion more narrowly than the Nebraska law which was struck down in 2000. Ohio was the first state to pass a ban on partial-birth abortions in 1995, but that law was declared unconstitutional by the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit in 1997.

 (President George W. Bush signed a federal ban on partial birth abortion in 2003 which was ultimately held up by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2007 (Gonzales vs. Carhart), making the procedure illegal in all 50 states.)

 

PARENTAL INVOLVEMENT
O.R.C. 2919.121

An unemancipated minor under 18 may not obtain an abortion unless one of her parents or her guardian has given written consent or she obtains a court order. (The provisions of this parental consent statute are now in effect, except for a section preventing additional judicial bypass requests after a first request had been denied, which was held unconstitutional by a panel of the U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals in November 2006 in Cincinnati Women’s Services v. Taft, Case No. 05-4174.)

In November 2011, a law was passed (O.R.C. 2919.121) to protect minors and their unborn children by closing loopholes and raising the bar to protect parents' ability to care for their children. Formerly, Ohio law stated that parental consent is required before a minor can obtain an abortion, but a loophole existed which allowed judges to bypass parental involvement and permit a minor to obtain an abortion.

 

INFORMED CONSENT
O.R.C. 2317.56
Except in the case of a medical emergency, at least 24 hours prior to an abortion, a doctor must meet in-person with the woman and inform her of the nature of the procedure, the medical risks of abortion and childbirth, and the probable gestational age of the child. The woman must be told the name of the abortionist and given state-printed materials describing the development of the unborn child and listing agencies which can help with her pregnancy and childbirth. Prior to the abortion, the woman must sign a form consenting to the abortion. (The requirement that a doctor meet with the woman in person at least 24 hours before the abortion was upheld by a panel of the U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals in November 2006 in Cincinnati Women’s Services v. Taft, Case No. 05-4174. The law is now in effect.)
Abortionists must also test the pre-born baby for a heartbeat via an ultrasound (O.R.C. 2317.56, 2919.19, 2919.191, 2919.192, 2919.193, 4731.22). If a heartbeat is detected, the mother considering abortion must be provided on opportunity to see or hear the heartbeat at least 24 hours prior to the abortion. If an ultrasound is to be performed prior to or during an abortion, the abortionist must provide the woman an opportunity to view the active ultrasound image of the fetus or embryo and offer to provide her a physical picture of the image of the embryo or fetus. (O.R.C. 2317.561)

 

PREFER CHILDBIRTH OVER ABORTION
O.R.C. 9.041

It is the public policy of the state of Ohio to prefer childbirth over abortion to the extent that is constitutionally permissible.

 

FREEDOM OF CONSCIENCE
O.R.C. 4731.91

No person may be required to participate in medical procedures which result in abortion.

 

ABORTION MANSLAUGHTER
O.R.C. 2919.13

Prohibits purposely taking the life of or not taking measures required by medical judgment to preserve the life of a child who is alive when removed from the woman’s uterus.

 

FETAL HOMICIDE

All of Ohio’s homicide and assault statutes prohibit actions which kill or injure another person’s unborn child at any stage of pregnancy. There are exceptions for legal abortions and actions by the mother.

 

PUBLIC FUNDING

O.R.C. 124.85  Prohibits the use of tax money to pay for state and local government employees’ insurance coverage for nontherapeutic abortions. (O.R.C. 5101.56) State and local funds cannot be used for an abortion, except in the case of rape, incest, or to preserve the woman’s life.

O.R.C. 5101.57  Prohibits the use of a public facility, such as a state-funded hospital, for the purpose of  performing or inducing  nontherapeutic abortions. 

O.R.C. 3702.33  State “genetic services” funds cannot be used to counsel or refer for an abortion, except in a medical emergency. (O.R.C. 3701.046) State “women health services” funds cannot be used to provide abortion services and cannot be used to counsel or refer for an abortion, except in a medical emergency. Programs that receive these funds must provide services that are physically and financially separate from abortion-providing and abortion-promoting activities.

O.R.C. 3901.87  Prohibits qualified health plans from providing coverage for nontherapeutic abortions.  These plans would include those created or made available through the State Health Insurance Exchange mandated by the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

 

PHYSICIAN REQUIREMENT
O.R.C. 2919.11

Abortion is the practice of medicine or surgery for purposes of O.R.C. 4731.41, which means that only licensed physicians may perform abortions. Nurses (O.R.C. 4723.28) and physician assistants (O.R.C. 4730.25) are prohibited from “prescribing any drug or device to perform or induce an abortion, or otherwise performing or inducing an abortion”.

 

FETAL EXPERIMENTATION/SALE
O.R.C. 2919.14

Prohibits experimenting on or selling the “product of conception” which is aborted. The sale of “baby parts” is thus prohibited in Ohio.

 

FORCED ABORTION

O.R.C. 2701.15:  Prohibits any court from ordering a woman to have an abortion.

O.R.C. 5101.55:  No person may be ordered to obtain an abortion by any public agency. Refusal to obtain an abortion cannot be used to cause the loss of public assistance or other rights or privileges.

O.R.C. 3701.791:  Requires abortion facilities to post a “No One Can Force You to Have an Abortion” notice that informs women not to sign a consent form and to tell clinic personnel if they are being coerced.

 

ABORTION REPORTING
O.R.C. 3701.79

Requires filing a confidential report on each abortion with the Ohio Department of Health which uses the information to produce an annual statistical report.

 

RU-486 REGULATION
O.R.C. 2919.123

Creates state criminal penalty for providing RU-486 (mifepristone) to another to induce an abortion without complying with the requirements of federal law governing RU-486. (This law is currently being challenged in the U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals.)

 

CLINIC REGULATIONS

Admin. Code sections 3701-83-01 to 22:  

The Ohio Department of Health rules regarding “Ambulatory Surgical Facilities” create personnel and staffing requirements, service standards including informed consent, building and site requirements, medical records requirements and allow inspections. (Admin. Code section 3701-47) Public Health Council regulations cover human fetal disposal and post-abortion procedures which only apply to abortions performed after 14 weeks. Additional regulations were put into place in 2013 to hold Ambulatory Surgical Facilities accountable to standard health and safety regulations. (O.R.C. 3702.303) Taxpayer-funded hospitals may not provide transfer agreements with abortion facilities. ASFs must secure a transfer agreement with a local hospital which is within 30 miles of their location.

 

FREEDOM OF CONSCIENCE

ORC 4731.91

No person may be required to participate in medical procedures which result in abortion.

 

ABORTION MANSLAUGHTER

ORC 2919.13

Prohibits purposely taking the life of or not taking measures required by medical judgment to preserve the life of a child who is alive when removed from the woman’s uterus.

 

FETAL HOMICIDE

All of Ohio’s homicide and assault statutes prohibit actions which kill or injure another person’s unborn child at any stage of pregnancy. There are exceptions for legal abortions and actions by the mother.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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