CINCINNATI — A bill restricting abortion access in southwest Ohio is one step closer to becoming law.
The Ohio House passed Senate Bill 157 Wednesday, sending legislation that could lead to the shutdown of Cincinnati's Planned Parenthood back to the Senate for final approval before heading to Gov. Mike DeWine's desk.
The bill does two things: punish doctors with a third-degree felony if they make a mistake or fail to fill out paperwork related to failed abortions and restrict doctors who contract with Planned Parenthood financially.
“I would not be surprised if we end up suing over this,” said Gary Daniels with the American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio. "Certainly, somebody will."
The Cincinnati Planned Parenthood must contract with doctors in order to transfer patients to a hospital in an emergency. This bill restricts those doctors.
“You cannot teach, you cannot instruct, you cannot consult with, you cannot contract with any state college or universities, any state medical schools or any public institution," Daniels said.
Supporters say that ensures taxpayer dollars do not directly or indirectly fund abortions. Regardless, Planned Parenthood of Southwest Ohio Region said it would limit the pool of doctors for the clinic to the point where they would have to shut their doors. It would also affect the Dayton location.
“It’s appalling,” said President and CEO Kersha Deibel. "This is a targeted effort to further stigmatize abortion with blatant disregard for the thousands of Ohioans’ access to health care it could affect."
A third-degree felony for failing to properly report where babies born after failed abortions could also mean prison time.
“If you don’t do the paperwork right, or don’t do the paperwork, you can expect prison time,” said Daniels.
Deibel said if Planned Parenthood was forced to close, the bill would make Cincinnati the biggest metropolitan in Ohio with an abortion provider.
"While most Ohioans support access to abortion care, we continuously see our human rights stripped by anti-abortion extremists," Deibel said. "Stripping abortion care from Southwest Ohio will cause havoc that disproportionately impacts our communities. This isn’t the end, and we will continue to fight — abortion is still legal in Ohio."
Democrats in the House argued before the vote this bill does nothing to help women carrying babies or ensure they have adequate pre- and post-natal care, which they said is also pro-life.
Senator Terry Johnson representing Adams, Brown, Clermont, Scioto and part of Lawrence County sponsors the bill.