Sebastian's Point

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Born Alive Infant Protection Act

Impact in Ohio

Brooke Karmie  |  13 January 2022

In October 2021, the Ohio State Senate passed Senate Bill 157, the “Born-Alive Infant Protection Act.” It was signed into law by Ohio Governor Mike DeWine[1] just before Christmas on December 22nd.

 

This bill requires that all doctors must attempt to save the life of any baby born alive after an abortion attempt, or they will be subject to third-degree felony charges.[2] Additionally, the Born-Alive Act mandates that all instances in which a baby is born alive after an attempted abortion must be reported by the abortionist and the clinic through the filing of a “child survivor form” with the state.

 

This bill was established to protect the lives and rights of infants who survive failed abortions. Even though it does not put any restrictions on abortion access it has been opposed by Ohio abortion providers such as Planned Parenthood, Democrat legislators, and the abortion lobby as a whole.

 

Sponsors and proponents of the Born-Alive Act view the law as a necessary requirement to prevent infanticide and protect human life. In a statement regarding the Born-Alive Act Mary Parker, director of legislative affairs at Ohio Right to Life, celebrated the passage of this bill stating that, “this vital anti-infanticide legislation will ensure that a baby who survives a botched abortion receives life-saving care.”[3]

 

On the opposing side of the aisle, abortion proponents see the bill as an unfair restriction to abortion access through the means of intimidating and threatening physicians.[4] Planned Parenthood officials are calling it a “TRAP law” for abortion providers stating that, “The bill's purpose is to stigmatize essential health care, criminalize doctors, and eliminate abortion access.”

 

This is not a new bill as it was first introduced in 2002[5] after horrific findings of wrongful and heinous deaths were uncovered following failed abortion attempts. Similar laws exist in several other states and most recently one was passed earlier in 2021 in Kentucky providing very similar requirements for physicians.[6]

 

The Born-Alive Act directly effects physicians and abortion performing facilities by putting in place further requirements of care, but other organizations are likely to be impacted as well. Pro-life pregnancy and care resource centers, as well as adoption agencies are among some of the organizations that could all be impacted by this bill by an influx of clientele for a few different reasons. Once a child is saved and properly reported, what are the next steps?

 

Pregnancy resource centers exist to meet the needs of women and men facing unplanned or crisis pregnancies. They often offer pregnancy testing, ultrasound, pregnancy counseling, parenting courses, and numerous other forms of support for expectant and new mothers and fathers.

 

A woman who was actively seeking to terminate of her pregnancy now has a child in her care. She is then back in a crisis as she is faced with the option of continuing to care for the baby or electing to find another caregiver for the baby. This is where a pregnancy center would ideally connect with the mother and father to help support them through the situation. This new act will require pregnancy centers of Ohio to establish procedures of care and outreach directed at mothers and fathers who have a baby because of a failed abortion.

 

Typically, when clients come into pregnancy centers they are expecting (or likely expecting) a child and are asking the question, “do I want to continue this pregnancy, and if I do, am I ready to care for this child myself?” This new potential clientele for pregnancy centers as a result of born-alive abortion survivors are no longer pregnant and are asking the question, “how do I care for this child?” and as a result the care and support of these patients will also be different. It is likely that crisis pregnancy centers across Ohio will need to enact new trainings for staff to anticipate these new clients.

 

Another potential influx of clientele for the Crisis Pregnancy Centers could come from the media and reporting surrounding the Born- Alive infant Protection Act. Women facing unplanned pregnancies and even seeking abortions are in a highly emotional state, often involving fear and sadness.[7] The Born-Alive Act brings to light one of the very scary and real risk surrounding abortions, which is the fact that sometimes they do not work, especially the further along the pregnancy.

 

This risk alone is alarming to women and the stories and reports of survival could lead them to seek out further support from crisis centers. A rise in clientele for crisis pregnancy centers could be a result of the Born-Alive Act and these centers should prepare for that rise in 2022 and the coming years.

 

There is no way to know how much impact this new law will have, but it always has more effects than the initial purpose of the bill. The Born-Alive Infant Protection Act will not only directly save the lives of many humans for years to come but will give mothers and fathers the opportunity to seek out further support from crisis pregnancy centers and other parental support organizations.

 

If you or someone you know is facing an unplanned pregnancy, please seek out support. Go to optionline.org and type in your zip code to find a care center near you.

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[1] https://governor.ohio.gov/wps/portal/gov/governor/media/news-and-media/governor-dewine-signs-bills-into-law-12222021

[2] https://search-prod.lis.state.oh.us/solarapi/v1/general_assembly_134/bills/sb157/EN/05/sb157_05_EN?format=pdf

[3] https://www.wlwt.com/article/ohio-house-oks-bill-on-babies-born-alive-after-abortion/38463949#

[4] https://www.plannedparenthoodaction.org/planned-parenthood-advocates-ohio/media/senate-bill-157-signed-by-gov-dewine

[5] https://www.congress.gov/bill/107th-congress/house-bill/2175

[6] https://apps.legislature.ky.gov/record/21rs/sb9.html

[7] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/1885339/

Brooke Karmie

Development Coordinator

Cleveland Pregnancy Center