States nationwide are quickly introducing their own versions of abortion bans as the country awaits the Supreme Court decision regarding the Mississippi law that has the ability to limit abortion rights across the country by overturning Roe v. Wade. But banning abortion is not the only issue: Many GOP states are being sure to include no exceptions for rape, incest, and human trafficking in their anti-abortion bills.
In Ohio especially, the legislator who introduced the state’s latest abortion ban refuses to acknowledge survivor rights.
Rep. Jean Schmidt, who introduced the bill, not only wants to punish doctors who perform abortion—both surgical and through medication—but refuses to make exceptions for rape or incest.
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“The time has come for Ohio to truly stand up for the rights of the unborn," Schmidt said during a Wednesday committee meeting. “I pray to God every single night and every single morning that we end this carnage of killing innocent lives because I am pro-life.”
Doctors violating the bill can be charged for “criminal abortion,” which the bill has designated as a fourth-degree felony.
Under the bill, abortion is only allowed when at least two physicians submit in writing that the abortion was necessary in their “reasonable medical judgment” to avoid death or serious risk to the pregnant individual. The bill says such procedures must also be done “in the manner that provides the best opportunity for the unborn child to survive.”
In addition to jail time, medical professionals can face the loss of their licenses for violating the law.
Introduced on March 17, the bill in question, HB 598, bans all abortions in Ohio except for those performed “to save the life of the mother.” According to the Cincinnati Enquirer, the bill is expected to take effect if the Supreme Court’s decision in Roe v. Wade, which legalized abortion nationwide, is overturned.
Schmidt not only believes the ban will protect the “most vulnerable” but claims rape victims already face enough trauma, so an abortion will not help their situation. Defending her agenda on no exceptions for rape, Schmidt argued that whether or not a person ends a pregnancy, “the scars [from their rape] won’t go away.”
Essentially she is taking away the power an abuser has had over their victim and giving it to herself or the government instead of putting it back in the survivor’s hands.
This isn’t the first controversial comment Schmidt, who is also known as “Mean Jean,” has made. In a separate incident, when attempting block Planned Parenthood from receiving any federal money, Schmidt claimed that “32 of every 33 pregnant women who visit Planned Parenthood get abortions,” Politifact reported. She argued this because federal law already prohibits tax dollars from paying for abortions.
Seeing that Schmidt was president of Right-to-Life of Greater Cincinnati before she was elected to Congress and that she currently chairs the House Pro-Life Women’s Caucus, her comments are not surprising.
She even went as far as to talk to children as young as the age of 6 at a Cincinnati elementary about abortion, NBC News affiliate WLWT5 reported. Like other Republicans, she will say whatever she can to advance her agenda.
But Schmidt is not alone. Some Ohio legislators, including Sen. Sandra O’Brien, have also argued that the exception to rape and incest does not need to be included because the person “could always take contraception.”
One cannot determine how much trauma someone has faced. Legislators should not be able to decide whether or not a pregnancy should be carried to term, or use a survivor’s trauma against them.