Again!?! Stop Ohio Bill Making Abortion a Capital Crime!

Ohio General Assembly


In an awful reprise of a bill proposed in 2018, but even worse this time, the Ohio General Assembly is again considering a bill which specifically provides for executing women who have had an abortion, and health care workers who provide them.

As written, Ohio House Bill 413 (Primary sponsors Rep. Candice Keller R-Ohio District 53 & Rep Ron Hood R-Dist 78) criminalizes seeking an abortion and doctors who provide an abortion. House Bill 413 creates the crime of "aggravated abortion murder," thus making a person who causes the death of such susceptible to capital punishment under existing Ohio law. If this bill becomes law, a physician can be charged with capital murder and sentenced to death if he or she provides a planned abortion, and so can the woman receiving an abortion.  There are no exceptions if it is a premeditated abortion. If they don't get a death sentence, the punishment is automatic LWOP.

HB 413 is over 700 pages and the word abortion is used over 300 times.

From the first line HB 413 is intended to create a new capital crime. The first page details which statutes of the Ohio code would be amended by this bill, and then creates new sections and specifically creates "the capital offense of aggravated abortion murder and the offense of abortion murder."

Page 38 in Section 109.97 specifically discusses the individuals sentenced to death pursuant to the revised code for an aggravated murder or aggravated abortion murder - this section is detailing capital case status reports that must be required, but specifically includes those sentenced to death for abortion murder.

Page 164 specifically says that an aggravated abortion murder that contains one or more aggravators listed in section 2929.04 of the Ohio Code is a capital offense.

Page 182 is where the bill specifies what aggravated abortion is and specifically outlaws abortion, reading "No person shall purposely, and with prior calculation and design, perform or have an abortion." It then lists other scenarios like performing an abortion while committing rape, kidnapping, arson, etc, but says anyone who violates that section, including having an abortion with prior calculation is guilty of "aggravated abortion murder" and will be punished according to 2929.02 of the code. It seems clear from earlier sections that means "aggravated abortion murder" is a capital offense.  

Affirmative defenses are listed on page 184: Section 2904.30--"It is an affirmative defense to a charge under this chapter, for the woman upon whom an abortion was performed or attempted to be performed, if both of the following apply: A) she was compelled by force, fear, duress, intimidation, or fraud to have the abortion; B) she has filed a report with a law enforcement agency with the requisite jurisdiction, certifying in writing that she was compelled to have the abortion.

Doctors are not subject to prosecution if with reasonable medical judgment believes it is highly probable that the pregnant woman will die from a certain fatal condition before her unborn child is viable (meaning if the child is viable, and it's still going to kill her, well tough luck), a doctor performs a surgery before the child is viable for the sole purpose of treating the pregnant woman's fatal conditions, and takes all steps to preserve the life of the unborn child including attempting to reimplant an ectopic pregnancy, which is currently not an actual medical possibility.

Page 185 deals with the punishments--If you commit abortion murder, the person SHALL be sentenced to life imprisonment without parole. If it's aggravated abortion murder, the offender shall be sentenced to LWOP or death.  

Also under this legislation, a woman can be criminally liable if she does or fails to do anything while she is or was pregnant that results in a still-born baby, a baby that dies in utero, a child that dies after being born from whatever the woman did, the woman causing the child who is born alive to sustain injuries while unborn, or even threatening to cause harm to the child regardless of the gravity of the threat all could be punished criminally.  

End Analysis.

This callous and extreme bill goes way too far by opening the door to the possibility of death sentences and executions for women who have an abortion and those who provide them.

To be clear, we believe that HB 413 won't pass on its own as written. Still, we must inoculate against the language in HB 413 being inserted into other legislation when no one is watching.

Add your name and tell the Ohio Statehouse: Specify explicitly that the death penalty is not an intended outcome as a result of House Bill 413.

Help us mount our response to Ohio Bill 413. Add your name and tell the Ohio Legislature that this bill is wrong and must be stopped.

Petition by
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To: Ohio General Assembly
From: [Your Name]

Ohio House Bill 413 includes language specifically creating a new capital crime called "aggravated abortion murder," punishable by life in prison with no parole, or the death penalty. While some of us may support or oppose the legality of abortion, we oppose the idea that anyone should be charged with a capital offense or executed as a result of providing or seeking an abortion. Please defeat this bill.