The Ohio House of Representatives today passed House Bill 78, which will protect the lives of unborn babies after the viability of the child is confirmed.

According to the “Ohio Viable Infants Protection Act,” if a woman wants an abortion and her unborn child is 20 weeks or older, a doctor must first 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 in order to comply with recent Supreme Court rulings and creates reporting requirements of the physician who performs an abortion in accordance with rules adopted by the Department of Health.

“So many of the bills we pass are measured in economic impact; this bill we will measure in lives,” said State Representative Kristina Daley Roegner (R-Hudson), who jointly sponsored House Bill 78 with State Representative Joe Uecker (R-Loveland). “At five months, unborn babies can hear, move and feel pain. These viable babies deserve a chance at life.”

Abortions are currently 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.

“The goal of this legislation is to safeguard Ohio’s unborn babies and protect mothers from complications with late-term abortions,” said Representative Uecker. “I’m happy that we are addressing a wide range of important issues during this General Assembly and also giving a voice to our most vulnerable citizens.”

House Bill 78 passed with bipartisan support and will now move to the Ohio Senate for further debate and consideration.


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