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DeWine Signs Bill On Babies Born Alive After Abortion

Abortion protestors at Ohio Statehouse on June 29, 2021.
Dan Konik
Abortion protestors at Ohio Statehouse on June 29, 2021.

Updated December 22, 2021 at 3:33 PM.

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine has signed a bill imposing criminal penalties on doctors who fail to give medical care in the rare circumstance when a baby is born alive following an abortion attempt. The Republican governor signed the measure Wednesday, the same day it arrived from the Republican-controlled Legislature.

Abortion-rights advocates argue the bill threatens some of Ohio’s last remaining clinics. Abortion opponents say the measure ensures the babies’ safety.

Senate Bill 157 passed both the Ohio House and Ohio Senate along party lines.

Chairman of the Ohio Republican Party Bob Paduchik applauded Governor DeWine in a statement, saying, "Governor DeWine and Ohio Republican legislators have been courageous advocates for the most vulnerable among us, the unborn. Every child deserves compassion and care, and the 'Born Alive Law' will help protect and preserve innocent life.”

“Today the state of Ohio has made a bold statement about where our values lie—with women, children, and families—not with the abortion industry which demeans and exploits them,” said Nilani Jawahar, Legislative Liaison for the Center for Christian Virtue.

The legislation also bans abortion clinics from working with doctors who teach at state-funded hospitals and medical schools.

“Clearly that’s going to create a serious problem because a lot of physicians work in some public entity of some sort,” said Sen. Cecil Thomas (D-Cincinnati).

Adarsh Krishen MD, Chief Medical Officer of Planned Parenthood of Greater Ohio released a statement that read, "There is no medical justification for disallowing qualified, experienced physicians from agreeing to provide backup coverage for abortion providers under a variance. In fact, if the state was genuinely concerned for patient safety, such physicians would be ideal. Instead, this provision is only meant to make it more challenging for abortion providers to remain licensed and operational."

The new law also makes changes to variances for transfer agreements that abortion clinics often need to operate. Because of that provision, Kersha Deibel of Planned Parenthood Southwest Ohio Region said clinics in her area will have a hard time continuing to operate.

"Right now, we're at crisis point for abortion access in Ohio and across the country. Anti-abortion politicians have made it their job to bury abortion providers under TRAP laws that providing and accessing essential health care to Ohioans has become an obstacle course," Deibel said.