After the U.S. Supreme Court's reversal of Roe v. Wade and the subsequent implementation of Ohio's six-week abortion ban, one state lawmaker is looking for a new way to support women and those who can become pregnant.
Senator Tina Maharath (D-Columbus) has proposed a bill that would allow Ohioans to sue over unintended pregnancy, with the goal of easing the financial burden of giving birth.
"The average cost of giving birth in our state is over $15,000, and can rise substantially if there are complications. Too often, this cost is solely the mother’s to bear, especially in the case of an unintended pregnancy," Maharath said in a statement. "However, the father shares equal responsibility for the pregnancy and it is only right that he pays equally for it."
Senate Bill 262 states "any person may bring a civil action against another person" who:
- Causes the person to have an unintended pregnancy, regardless of the circumstances;
- Aids or abets any other person in causing the person to have an unintended pregnancy, regardless of the circumstances.
Ohio's recently enacted six-week abortion ban, also known as the“Heartbeat Bill,” limits a patient’s right to terminate a pregnancy after the detection of a "fetal heartbeat," sporadic electrical flutters which occur after about six weeks and before many people even know they’re pregnant (medical experts say this is not an actual heartbeat). There are no exceptions for rape or incest, only for risk of death to the impregnated person.
In her statement, Maharath called the ban "draconian" and referenced a recent case where an underage rape victim was forced to travel from Ohio to Indiana to obtain an abortion.
"This law is already having devastating effects, as we learned that a 10-year-old rape victim had to travel out of state to receive an abortion," she said. “While this situation is tragic and should never have happened, I am relieved that she had the resources to leave Ohio to have a necessary medical procedure.”
S.B. 262 has not yet had a hearing in the state Senate, where Republicans hold a majority. Ohio Right to Life President Mike Gonidakis told The Columbus Dispatch the bill has "a zero percent chance of passing."