Ohio lawmakers propose death penalty for people who have abortions

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A new 723-page bill would implement harsh penalties for those seeking reproductive health care.

Republicans in Ohio want those who obtain an abortion to go to prison or even be put to death, Rewire reported on Wednesday.

A 723-page bill introduced by 19 Republicans creates two brand new felonies in the state: abortion murder and aggravated abortion murder. There are no exceptions for rape and incest, according to Rewire, but abortions would be allowed under very limited circumstances only if a pregnant person is highly likely to die from fatal conditions unrelated to the pregnancy or mental health.

"Abortion murder" is defined as purposefully obtaining or performing an abortion. Under the proposed law, pregnant people who obtain abortions and doctors who perform them face 15 years to life in prison.

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The death penalty is reserved for "aggravated abortion murder" which includes performing an abortion while committing or attempting to commit one or more additional felonies, such as kidnapping, arson, burglary, or an act of terrorism.

The goal of this bill, and others like it, is to "strip Ohioans of their reproductive freedoms," Kellie Copeland, executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio, told the Cincinnati Enquirer.

"Ohioans won’t surrender their bodily autonomy to these extremists," she added.

The Ohio bill follows a failed attempt in April by Texas legislators to make abortion punishable by death.

As far back as 2011, Republicans in Georgia introduced legislation making abortion punishable by death.

In the Trump era, many Republican-led state legislatures have introduced measures to restrict access to abortion.

In May, Missouri became the sixth state to pass a major bill limiting when pregnant people can obtain abortions, setting the cutoff at eight weeks. The same month, Alabama passed a bill outlawing abortion in the state, even in cases of rape and incest. Georgia faced threats of boycotts after the governor signed a bill outlawing abortion after just six weeks, before many people even know they are pregnant.

While running for president, Donald Trump suggested that women who obtain an abortion should receive "some form of punishment." Trump later walked back that statement.

Despite Republican efforts to jail or kill those who obtain abortions, the majority of Americans believe abortion should be legal "all or most of the time."

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.