A bill fresh off the press would outlaw a method used for abortions between 13 and 24 weeks in Ohio, prompting a group of women to take a bold stance against the plan.
As state senators discussed SB 145, pro-choice women dressed as "The Handmaid's Tale" characters sat in silence as a way to protest the piece of legislation that would effectively criminalize dilation and evacuation (D&E), a method most commonly used in some abortions.
In 95 percent of second trimester abortions nationwide, doctors dilate the woman's cervix, allowing the physician to use suction and surgical instruments to effectively remove the fetus and other tissue. The bill introduced by GOP Sens. Matt Huffman of Lima and Steve Wilson of Maineville would make this particular procedure illegal in the state of Ohio, even though 3,000 of the 21,000 abortions performed statewide in 2015 involved the D&E method.
If the bill passes and is signed into law, physicians may be charged with a fourth-degree felony if they are caught performing D&E, unless there's a risk of "substantial and irreversible physical impairment of a major bodily function,” and if an abortion is necessary to save the life of the mother.
After photos of the pro-choice protesters were shared on social media, Twitter users took the opportunity to criticize the bill, praising those who participated in the protest.
Just another day at the Statehouse. pic.twitter.com/R6H0RVuQaT— (((Michael Premo))) (@MichaelTPremo) June 13, 2017
Ohio Right to Life is gunning for Roe. It isn't even trying to pretend that it isn't anymore. That's how close it knows it is.— Ellen Duffer (@ellenduffer) June 13, 2017
Some pointed out that senators haven't reached out to medical professionals before writing this bill.
When asked if they have talked to medical associations the sponsor said that they talked with Ohio Right to Life. #NotAHealthProfessional— NARAL ProChoice Ohio (@ProChoiceOH) June 13, 2017
With these protests taking place right as the legislation is introduced, the bill's opponents are making a strong enough case that lawmakers may consider killing it before it reaches the Assembly. If anything, lawmakers should give protesters a chance to voice their concerns about the bill and how it would impact them negatively before proceeding.