Rep. Stephanie Howse (D-Cleveland) is one of five lawmakers from states that have or are considering abortion restrictions who are going to El Salvador to experience what life is like in a country that has an abortion ban.
The progressive State Innovation Exchange's Reproductive Leadership Council is sending Howse, along with state lawmakers from Florida, Alabama, Arizona and Georgia, to El Salvador.
The group’s Eme Crawford says the lawmakers will talk to ten women who have been sent to prison for violating that country’s abortion ban, which is thought to be the strictest in the world.
“They are going to witness the horrors of criminalizing abortion. They are going to be meeting with women whose lives have been devastated by the country’s ban on abortion," Crawford says.
Crawford says this trip will show abortion bans can have intended and unintended consequences.
“What we have seen is when there are bans on abortion, that anything that happens with a pregnancy, be it miscarriage, is suddenly open to criminal intent and criminal questioning.”
Ohio House Rep. @stephaniehowse is on a mission to El Salvador to see first-hand the consequences of abortion bans. Her trip with the State Innovation Exchange will give her the opportunity to talk to ten women who have been imprisoned for violating the country's abortion ban.— Jo Ingles (@joingles) November 12, 2019
Howse has been an outspoken opponent of recent abortion restrictions, including the six week so-called “heartbeat” abortion ban signed into law this spring and struck down by a federal court.
Supporters of legal abortion hope will the stories they bring back will make lawmakers think twice before implementing more restrictions.