Ohio Legislature Considering An Abortion Bill That Is More Restrictive Than The "Heartbeat Bill"

May 8, 2019
Originally published on May 8, 2019 11:10 am

A new bill would ban most private insurance coverage for abortions. But opponents say it would also ban effective methods of birth control. 

One fifth of the representatives in the House have signed on to a bill sponsored by Republican John Becker that would prohibit most insurance companies from offering coverage for abortion services.

“The intent is to save lives and reduce the cost of employers and employees health care insurance," Becker says.

The bill would ban nontherapeutic abortions that include "drugs or devices used to prevent the implantation of a fertilized ovum.” 

And Becker says the bill also speaks to coverage of ectopic or tubal pregnancies where the fertilized egg attaches outside of the womb.

“Part of that treatment would be removing that embryo from the fallopian tube and reinserting it in the uterus so that is defined as not an abortion under this bill," Becker explains.

“That doesn’t exist in the realm of treatment for ectopic pregnancy. You can’t just re-implant. It’s not a medical thing," says Jaime Miracle, deputy director of NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio. 

She says, under this bill, women would have to wait until their very lives were in danger to get an abortion in the case of an ectopic pregnancy. 

“This bill will have grave impacts on Ohio’s infant and maternal mortality rate," Miracle says.

And she says that’s not all. She says it will ban insurance from covering popular methods of birth control.

“Birth control pills, IUD’s and other methods of birth control like that – the bill states that any birth control that could act to stop a fertilized egg from implanting in the uterus is considered an abortion under this bill," Miracle says.

Becker insists his bill does not target birth control.

“When you get into the contraception and abortifacients, that’s clearly not my area of expertise but I suppose, if it were true that what we typically known as the pill would be classified as an abortifacient, then I would imagine the drug manufacturers would reformulate it so it’s no longer an abortifacient and is strictly a contraceptive," Becker says.

This bill just had its first hearing in committee. If it goes further, supporters, opponents and medical professionals will testify for or against it. 

Less than a month ago, Ohio lawmakers passed and Gov. Mike DeWine signed a law that bans abortion as early as six weeks into a pregnancy - at the point a fetal heartbeat can be detected. If this legislation goes through as written, it would go even further.

Copyright 2019 The Statehouse News Bureau. To see more, visit The Statehouse News Bureau.