Washington DC, United States: As Election Day approaches, groups against abortion in Ohio are focusing on a term used for a certain abortion procedure that was used in later stages of pregnancy but has been illegal in the US for more than 15 years.
“Partial-birth abortions” have been considered an imminent threat from the opposition campaign and top Republicans if voters approve the constitutional amendment on November 7, according to reports by AP.
It is to be noted that partial-birth abortion is a non-medical term that has been federally banned. This is a procedure which is known as dilation and extraction (D&X).
Ohio Governor’s take on the amendment
The Ohio Governor, Mike DeWine, recently had an interaction with a reporter during which he explained that he is against the constitutional amendment, also known as (aka) Issue 1. He was quoted saying, “It would allow a partial-birth abortion.”
Further, he mentioned, “For many years, in Ohio and in this country, we’ve had a law that said a partial-birth abortion — where the child is partially delivered and then killed and then finally delivered — was illegal in Ohio,” and continued, “This constitutional amendment would override that.”
However, the Constitutional scholars have outlined that the amendment, if Ohio voters approve it, will never override the existing federal ban. In this regard, a law professor at Capital University in Columbus – Dan Kobil, was quoted saying, “So changing our constitution will not affect in the slightest way the applicability of the federal partial-birth abortion ban.”
Kobil further added, “It would be a federal crime for a doctor to violate that ban,” according to AP.
Ohio is the only state this November where voters will decide whether abortion should be legal. But the debate isn’t happening in isolation. The state has been used as a campaign testing ground by anti-abortion groups after a string of defeats since the US Supreme Court overturned a constitutional right to the procedure. And next year, abortion rights supporters are planning to put the question before voters in several more states, ensuring the issue will be central to races up and down the ballot.
Because of the constitutional challenge played out, the ban was largely on hold. In 2007, the US Supreme Court rejected the arguments against the law, upholding the application across all states.
A director of state public affairs for Susan B Anthony Pro-Life America, Kelsey Pritchard, said under the Biden Administration, the federal ban “lacks enforcement,” and she further described the administration as “extreme pro-abortion.”
Protect Women Ohio spokesperson Amy Natoce argued about the Issue 1 opposition campaign and commented, “If it’s not being enforced, if there’s no teeth to it, then the protections need to happen at the state level. Of course, if Issue 1 passed, we won’t have those protections.”
In addition to this, Cleveland-based maternal-fetal medicine specialist Mae Winchester, stated that it is misleading if the term is used during the campaign messaging. She stated, “‘Partial-birth abortion’ is a made-up term that only serves to create confusion and stigmatize abortion later in pregnancy. It’s not a procedure that’s described anywhere in medical literature, and so it’s not considered a medical term or even an actual medical procedure,” according to AP.
History of ‘Partial-birth abortion’ in Ohio
The first ban in the US was passed by Ohio in 1995 and was dubbed “partial-birth feticide” by lawmakers. Three years later, the D&X procedure was debuted by Ohio physician Martin Haskell during an abortion practitioners conference.
He presented it as a method to skip a night in the hospital and as a safer, less painful option for women compared to other methods.