It is with deep regret that I must inform you that the term “abortion murder” is a thing.
The term reads like an attempt to psychically coax people into believing the first word is synonymous to the second one by simply lumping them together, like “rape consent” or “Nickleback good.” And that’s because that’s exactly what it is. But it’s also very serious, because it is being used in an official bill that has been drafted by Ohioan legislators. *Le sigh*
Ohio House Bill 413 is 723 pages long (dramatic much?), sponsored by Ohio State Rep. Candice Keller, and would add several new felonies to the state’s criminal code: “abortion murder” and “aggravated abortion murder.” The law would allow the state to punish doctors who perform abortions — and people who get them — to 15 years to life in prison. Not abortions before six weeks — not abortions in the case of rape or incest — but any abortion whatsoever.
Unlike previous extreme abortion bans, the Ohio bill does not include exceptions for rape or incest, with very narrow exemptions when it’s “highly probable that the pregnant woman will die from a certain fatal condition” should she carry on with the pregnancy.
It also includes provisions that suggest doctors should attempt to re-implant an ectopic pregnancy in a patient’s uterus. An ectopic pregnancy is when an egg is fertilized somewhere outside of the uterus, usually in the fallopian tubes, and has to be terminated in order to prevent complications or even death of the pregnant person. Re-implanting an ectopic pregnancy into a person’s uterus is a procedure that literally does not exist, but go off, Ohio.
But wait, there’s more! The bill also refers to a crime called “aggravated abortion murder,” which is when someone performs an abortion while committing or attempting to commit kidnapping, rape, aggravated arson, arson, aggravated robbery, robbery, aggravated burglary, burglary,or other crimes. K, what criminal mastermind is out here performing abortions while robbing a bank? Asking for a friend.
The bill has yet to be passed or even voted on, but much like my ex at my family’s holiday party, the mere introduction of it is troubling.
House Minority Leader Emilia Sykes called the bill “the most brazen and absurd attempt yet to deny Ohio women their fundamental freedoms, to interfere with the patient-doctor relationship and disproportionately target communities of color across Ohio.”
Even if it is not passed, the bill seems to be the beginning of a movement that wants to give fetuses the same legal rights as pregnant people, and in many cases even put fetuses’ lives above pregnant people’s. Even just creating a bill that proposed re-implanting ectopic pregnancies is dangerous, because now people will likely hear this language and continue to push for the practice of it, even though it’s not medically possible. Like, even pro-life medical professionals have said that it isn’t possible.
Ingrid Skop, chair of the American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists (AAPLOG), told Vox: “To my knowledge we are nowhere near having the technology to do that.”
So WTF is this idea doing in a bill, then? Most likely trying to get people behind the idea, so they will push for it becoming a reality. But doing so could put pregnant people’s lives at risk, as the need to terminate their fetuses won’t be at the forefront, and hesitating to do so can be fatal. In short, pregnant people — cis women, trans men, and non-binary people — might find that their lives are not protected by the law, but their unborn fetuses’ are.
Feeling absolutely terrified? Great, let’s keep going!
Ohio has been a pioneer in strict, arguably inhumane, abortion laws in the past. They were the first to introduce a “heartbeat bill” which bans pregnancy after six weeks, back in 2011. It didn’t pass then, but did earlier this year, not just in Ohio, but in other states like Iowa, Georgia, and Alabama.
Important reminder: abortion is currently legal in all 50 states.
These bills have since been blocked by courts, but we can see the pattern of progression here. When the heartbeat bill was first introduced in Ohio in 2011, it was regarded as too extreme by most. Now, it’s clearly gaining popularity and traction, as various states attempt to pass it into law. The same could happen with this “abortion murder” bill. It’s like when you plant the idea of a present you want your partner to buy you by bringing it up over and over again, except in this case it’s bringing up “abortion murder” and the result is the jailing and death of women (and trans men and non-binary people).
This all seems to be part of a big push to chip away at abortion laws until they are illegal entirely, short of a Supreme Court decision removing the right to end a pregnancy. This term, SCOTUS will hear a Louisiana abortion case that could change how states are allowed to regulate the procedure.
Bills like Ohio’s are scary, but it’s important to remember that we have the power to elect lawmakers who are pro-choice. (Our friends at EMILY’s list, in particular, focus on grading and supporting women candidates who are prochoice.)
Aggressive reminder to do your homework and find out who you can vote for who will fight to keep abortion safe and legal. Bodily autonomy should be a human right given to all, because deciding what you want to do with your body should be your choice and your choice only. And yet we keep finding ways to criminalize people — mainly women and minorities — for attempting to obtain the legal right to do with their body as they choose, so here we are. Keep fighting the good fight, my queens.
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Images: Giphy (3)