State Representatives Kristina Roegner (R-Hudson) and Joe Uecker (R-Loveland) announced that House Bill 78—which will prohibit a woman from obtaining an abortion after the viability of the child is confirmed—passed from the House Health and Aging Committee.

According to the “Ohio Viable Infants Protection Act,” if a woman wants an abortion and her child is 20 weeks or older, a doctor must examine the child to determine if he or she is viable. Viability is confirmed if a child would be able to live outside the womb, which is possible by approximately 22 to 24 weeks.

If the child is viable, the abortion is prohibited except in the case of a medical emergency or if the woman has a serious physical health condition. If an abortion is performed for one of these reasons, it must be performed at a neonatal facility where the method is most likely to permit the child to survive. Additionally, House Bill 78 requires a subjective standard for determining viability and creates reporting requirements of the physician who performs an abortion in accordance with rules adopted by the Department of Health.

“Even during pregnancy, these unborn infants are still babies,” said Roegner. “House Bill 78 ensures that babies who are physically capable of surviving outside of the womb receive the care and protection they deserve.”

Currently, abortions are permitted in Ohio right up to the moment of birth. Although most abortions are performed during the first trimester of a woman’s pregnancy, many abortions are performed on women at 20 weeks and later. In 2009, there were 613 abortions that were performed at 20 weeks or later in Ohio. Of these, 116 infants were aborted after 24 weeks and one was aborted as late as 35 weeks. Most doctors agree that a child is capable of living on his or her own outside of the womb at 23 to 24 weeks.

“It is important that we take steps to fine-tune Ohio’s abortion laws so that they will protect moms and infants alike,” Uecker said. “This legislation will help spare many women the devastating complications that may accompany a late-term abortion, while also giving many more infants a chance at life.”

House Bill 78 will now move to the House floor for a vote.


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