In case you missed it, the Ohio Republican Party is running some of the most extremist candidates we’ve ever seen, up and down the ticket, in 2018. In the latest example, state Rep. Robert Sprague — a Republican candidate for Ohio Treasurer — has co-sponsored legislation that would ban all abortions, even in cases or rape, incest or to save a woman’s life, and would make abortion punishable by life in prison or the death penalty. The death penalty? How pro-life.
The New York Times editorialized about this:
Carrying to term a pregnancy against one’s will is punishment enough — in fact, it can amount to torture, according to the United Nations Human Rights Council. But the Ohio bill would not only cut off access to the procedure, it would also open the door to criminal charges against both abortion providers and women seeking the procedure. …
If this all sounds legally unsound, that’s because it is. The Ohio bill is “blatantly unconstitutional,” said Brigitte Amiri, a senior staff attorney at the American Civil Liberties Union’s Reproductive Freedom Project, which has challenged anti-abortion laws in the state. “This isn’t a hard one.”
That’s because the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision made abortion legal up to the point of fetal viability, which has shifted over time due to medical advancements in treating premature babies, but now occurs at about 24 weeks of pregnancy. Any ban on abortion before that time — say, at 15 weeks, as would be the case under a law that was passed and legally blocked in Mississippi last week — is generally considered unconstitutional.
This rash of radically unconstitutional bills is appearing by design. The anti-abortion movement has been trying to pass pre-viability abortion bans, like the Ohio bill, hoping that efforts to overturn them would lead to a challenge of Roe v. Wade that would end with the 45-year-old decision’s reversal in the Supreme Court.
Below is a press release from the Ohio Democratic Party:
OHIO GOP AGENDA: NOTHING ON JOBS, BUT PLENTY OF RADICAL BILLS BACKED BY SPECIAL INTEREST GROUPS
Sprague Backing Bill Attacking Roe v. Wade; LaRose Sponsored Law Blocked by Federal Judge; Faber Pushed Through Anti-Abortion Bill That Kasich Vetoed
COLUMBUS — In the latest example of Ohio Republican politicians interfering with women’s health decisions, GOP lawmakers are explicitly attacking Roe v. Wade and would make abortions punishable by life in prison or even the death penalty under new legislation introduced this week and co-sponsored by state treasurer candidate Robert Sprague.
“Rather than focusing on Ohio’s struggling economy or our dreadful infant mortality rate, Ohio Republicans are more focused on pushing a divisive agenda, backed by special interest groups, that keeps getting blocked in the courts, costing taxpayers money,” said Ohio Democratic Party Chairman David Pepper. “The latest example of the Republican agenda is a plainly unconstitutional bill. Robert Sprague is running for state treasurer at the same time he’s backing this bill, which could cost the taxpayers of Ohio millions if it passes and then is challenged in the courts. Ohioans have already seen enough extremist, partisan politics from the treasurer’s office.”
“This new Republican proposal would criminalize abortion and punish women and doctors — which is precisely what Donald Trump called for during his campaign,” said Ohio Democratic Women’s Caucus Chair Kathy DiCristofaro. “Ohio Republicans have already put 20 anti-abortion measures into law over the past seven years, and they simply will not stop attacking a woman’s ability to make the intensely personal decision about whether or not to become a parent. It’s time to take back Columbus and the Ohio Statehouse from these radical politicians.”
In one of his final acts as the Republican leader in the Ohio Senate, Keith Faber cited Donald Trump’s election as his justification when he pushed through a ban on all abortions after six weeks — legislation Gov. John Kasich then vetoed.
Frank LaRose led the charge in the Ohio Senate sponsoring a bill restricting women’s health care decisions as companion legislation to a House version that passed but has since been blocked by a federal judge.