A “trigger bill” was introduced this week in the Ohio General Assembly that would ban abortion in nearly all cases provided that certain conditions are met.
The text of HB 598 is clear:
No person shall purposely cause or induce an abortion by either of the following: (1) Prescribing, administering, or personally furnishing a drug or substance; (2) Using an instrument or other means.
Violating the new law would be a felony called criminal abortion.
But the law can only take effect if it passes the Ohio Legislature, is signed into law, and if abortion becomes illegal at the federal level. The latter could happen with an upcoming court decision
The Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) is slated to decide a case called Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization in only a few months.
The Mississippi State Legislature in 2018 passed a law banning abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy. The law has been challenged in court since its passage and has never taken effect.
The case has made its way to the nation’s highest court, and if the Supreme Court rules in favor of the pro-life law, it would overturn the Supreme Court’s landmark 1973 Roe V. Wade ruling that legalized abortion at the federal level.
Only if the law passes the normal legislative process, and if Roe V. Wade is overturned, can HB 598 become law in Ohio.
“Of course, we can’t predict with absolute certainty how the Supreme Court will rule in the Dobbs case,” Mary Parker, the Legislative Director for Ohio Right to Life told The Ohio Star Thursday. “But there is hope that they will overturn Roe and give the authority to prohibit abortions back to the states, thanks to the majority of pro-life justices currently on the court. We could potentially have a post-Roe America as early as this June.”
“I do believe that HB 598 will become law in Ohio. We have a majority of pro-life legislators and pro-life statewide officials,” she said. “This is the moment the pro-life movement has anticipated for decades, and we want to ensure that Ohio is ready.”
The primary sponsor of the new bill is State Representative Jean Schmidt (R-Goshen). It has not yet been referred to a State House committee.
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