Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine, a Republican, signed a bill Wednesday that imposes criminal penalties on doctors who do not administer medical care to a baby that is born alive after a failed abortion attempt.
According to the Associated Press, the bill could prompt the closure of two southwest Ohio abortion clinics. DeWine signed the bill on the same day he received it from the Republican-majority state legislature.
The bill also requires physicians to report cases of babies born alive after botched abortion procedures. And, the bill prohibits health centers that provide abortions from working with physicians who teach at state-funded hospitals and medical schools. The latter is the component of the bill that threatens two abortion clinics in the state – one in Dayton and one in Cincinnati.
Planned Parenthood described the law as a “TRAP law” to the AP, which stands for “targeted restrictions on abortion providers.” The goal behind TRAP laws is to make abortion unavailable in state borders.
“Targeted restrictions on abortion providers (TRAP) laws are costly, severe, and medically unnecessary requirements imposed on abortion providers and women's health centers,” Planned Parenthood Action Fund’s website states. “Often pushed by anti-abortion politicians under the guise of ‘women's health,’ the real aim of TRAP laws is to shut down abortion providers and make it more difficult for people to access abortion.”
In a separate statement, Kersha Deibel, who is CEO of the Planned Parenthood Southwest Ohio Region, described the legislation protecting babies born alive from abortions part of a “crisis point” and said that pro-life laws cause “havoc.”
"At this moment, we're at a crisis point for abortion access in Ohio and across the country. Anti-abortion politicians have made it their job to bury abortion providers under so many TRAP laws that providing and accessing essential health care to Ohioans has become an obstacle course. Stripping abortion care from Southwest Ohio will cause havoc that disproportionately impacts our communities. Abortion is still legal in Ohio. This isn't the end, and we will continue to fight."
Reportedly, Ohio laws already punish doctors who do not attempt to save the lives of babies born alive after an abortion. The bill expands it by including a new crime of “purposely failing to take measures to preserve the health or life of a child.”
Under the new law, doctors are obligated to provide care to the baby, and call 911 to arrange transportation to a hospital.
State Sen. Terry Johnson, who supported the legislation, praised DeWine in a statement shared on Wednesday.
"Thank you Governor DeWine for standing up for Ohio's newborns and protecting life at its most vulnerable stage," Johnson said. "Every child, no matter the circumstances surrounding his or her birth, deserves our compassion and care."
The AP notes that according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data compiled from 2003 to 2014, 143 deaths were infants that displayed signs of life after an abortion. This was out of 315,000 infant deaths and 49 million live births over the 12 years.
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