Ohio Senate passes bill protecting babies born alive after botched abortions

The Ohio Senate passed a bill on Wednesday that would protect babies born alive following a failed abortion, requiring doctors to provide post-birth care for the child and report instances of infants born alive to the health department. The bill has not yet been introduced in the Ohio House.

Senate Bill 157, sponsored by Senators Terry Johnson (R-McDermott) and Steve Huffman (R-Tipp City), passed 25 to 6, and now continues to the Ohio House of Representatives. The bill would require physicians to provide life-saving medical care to a baby who survives an abortion just as they would any other baby regardless of the circumstances of the birth. Violators would face a first-degree felony of abortion manslaughter punishable by up to 11 years in prison, and could be sued by the child’s mother. 

“This bill acknowledges the simple fact that, regardless of the circumstances surrounding his or her birth, every child deserves our compassion and care,” said Johnson.

The bill would also require physicians to report to the Ohio Department of Health any instances of infants being born alive after failed abortions. In addition, to ensure taxpayer dollars do not go towards abortion, doctors who teach at state-funded hospitals and medical schools would be prohibited from working with abortion clinics. reports that Planned Parenthood Southwest Ohio Region’s Mount Auburn Health Center and Women’s Med in Dayton both operate using variances – an exception to state law that requires each surgical abortion clinic to have an agreement with a local, private hospital to treat women in case of an emergency. If the change becomes law, Women’s Med would be affected, since their four listed physicians have ties to Wright State Physicians and teach at Wright State University’s Boonshoft School of Medicine.

Following the vote, Ohio Right to Life issued a statement applauding the senators for their pro-life leadership. 

“No baby in Ohio, regardless of the circumstances surrounding their birth, should be left alone to die,” the organization stated. “This vital anti-infanticide legislation will ensure that no baby who survives a botched abortion is denied life-saving care. It will also hold abortionists accountable by establishing a much-needed reporting requirement to document when a child is born alive after an attempted abortion. Ohio Right to Life will continue to advocate for the right to life of every defenseless child, both born and unborn.”

READ: Ohio leads 12-state lawsuit against Biden-Harris administration to halt federal abortion funding

Center for Christian Virtue President Aaron Baer also praised the bill, saying, “It is unconscionable that the abortion industry and Planned Parenthood would fight a law to ensure children born after a botched abortion are provided with life-saving care. It proves they never truly cared about women health, only their profits. The Ohio Senate sent a strong message today that every child’s life matters.”

Tragically, abortion is on the rise in Ohio. The 2020 Ohio Induced Abortion Report, released this month, reveals an increase in the number of abortions, with a total of 20,605 in 2020 compared to 20,102 in 2019.

While it is unclear just how many infants are born alive following botched abortions, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that between 2003 and 2014 at least 143 infants died after being born alive during abortions. However, that number only reflects the number of reported incidents. The actual number is likely much higher, making a reporting system imperative in Ohio, as required under Senate Bill 157. 

Moreover, the Family Research Council notes that while Congress did pass the Born-Alive Infants Protection Act in 2002, there has not been a single federal prosecution brought against an abortionist since the law passed, even though the CDC reports at least 143 survivors. Although it is a crime to kill the baby post-birth, a physician could let the baby die by failing to provide medical care — an issue addressed by the bill’s requirement to provide life-saving assistance to born alive infants.

Live Action’s InHuman investigation revealed that a staffer at Emily’s Women’s Center in the Bronx said any child who accidentally survived an abortion would be placed in a fatal “solution” that would make the baby stop breathing and moving, instead of receiving any form of life-saving care. 

Although Planned Parenthood has claimed abortion survivors do not exist, they do — and their stories are compelling. Among the most well-known is Gianna Jessen, who survived a botched saline abortion and has testified before Congress on many occasions. She has poignantly stated, “The best thing I can show you to defend life is my life.” Gianna is not alone. Live Action News has told the stories of countless abortion survivors who miraculously escaped death.

Measures like Senate Bill 157 are one way we can protect abortion survivors, like Gianna, and ensure they are not left to die. 

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