CLEVELAND (WJW) – The fallout of overturning Roe v. Wade continues as a new effort is introduced by Ohio lawmakers questioning when life begins.
House Bill 704, also called the Personhood Act, states it would “protect the constitutional rights of all unborn human individuals from the moment of conception,” with an exemption that would endanger the life of a mother.
Ohio State Representative Gary Click, a republican representing Sandusky County, sponsored the bill along with seven co-sponsors, including State Representative Reggie Stoltzfus of Stark County.
“We are defining life at the moment of conception and the reason we do that is because it answers every other question that we have from that point on,” said Click. “I don’t address abortion. I don’t even know if you can call it a pro-life bill, although that would be the ultimate outcome of it.”
When asked if the intent behind the bill is to ban all abortions across Ohio with no exceptions for rape or incest, Click said, “My intent is to determine when a person becomes a person… I think it would very likely have that effect absolutely.”
Click, a pastor of nearly 30 years, said he has not made a theological argument for the bill. He said he did not consult with anti-abortion groups or medical professionals when crafting the legislation.
“I consulted with Thomas Jefferson and the Declaration of Independence,” Click said. “We hold these truths to be self-evident that all men are created equal.”
Kellie Copeland, Executive Director of Pro-Choice Ohio, called the bill “brutal.”
“Medicine has changed quite a bit since the mid 1700s… I wonder if he consulted with Sally Hemings,” said Copeland, about Hemings, a slave who had several children by Thomas Jefferson. “It would eliminate access to abortion, and it would eliminate bodily autonomy for everyone who is capable of becoming pregnant. It would also limit access to in vitro fertilization.”
Ohio’s “heartbeat bill” bans abortions after six weeks. Advocates of reproductive technology including IVF have expressed concern about the creation of laws that would limit or outlaw procedures.
Representative Click said “ethical” IVF would be considered.
“I do believe that we can still protect the abilities of IVF,” he said.
Copeland vowed to fight the proposed legislation from becoming law.
“It is extremely dangerous, and it is one that is not in any way, shape or form supported by even 30% of Ohio,” said Copeland. “It is a terrible proposal. They see the suffering in these last few weeks since Roe fell and their response isn’t compassion. Their response is let’s go further. Let’s make more people suffer, that is not what Ohioans need or deserve from their elected officials.”
The Personhood Act has not been assigned to a committee.