Ohio House Bill Would Require Ultrasound, Waiting Period Before Abortions

Rep. Ron Hood (R-Ashville)

State Representative Ron Hood (R-Ashville) recently introduced House Bill 200 (HB 200), which supporters say would help women make informed medical decisions by requiring an ultrasound and a meeting with a doctor 48 hours prior to any non-emergency abortion procedure.

Pro-abortion legislators and activists immediately expressed their opposition to HB 200. Rep. John Patrick Carney (D-Columbus) announced in a June 13 release that he was “shocked” by the introduction of “yet another mean-spirited attack on women’s health and lives.”

HB 200 would make a non-emergency abortion legal only if a doctor “meets with the pregnant woman in person in an individual, private setting and gives her an adequate opportunity to ask questions about the abortion that will be performed or induced” at least 48 hours before the procedure.

“The nature and purpose of the particular abortion procedure to be used and the medical risks associated with that procedure” would also have to be communicated to each patient.

Additionally, Rep. Hood’s proposal – cosponsored by 34 other Republican members of the House – would require “an obstetric ultrasound examination that portrays the entire body of the embryo or fetus” and an explanation of the ultrasound image.

“This is a decision that, with a viable pregnancy and a live baby, you’re making a decision on the destiny of a life,” Hood told Media Trackers. “If you talk to the pregnancy-center people across the state, they’ll all tell you that when a mother sees that ultrasound, she really realizes that, in most cases, the vast majority of cases, she doesn’t want to abort this baby.”

Hood added that HB 200 was intended to “help mothers against the ‘war on babies,'” a sentiment shared by Ohio Right to Life Executive Director John Coats II.

“Women receive information as to what they’re doing, and it may have them reconsider,” Coats told Media Trackers. “The reason that I believe that the abortion industry is so upset and enraged right now is — again — it affects their bottom line. If women receive more information, and they choose not to have an abortion, well, then the abortion industry makes less money.”

“There is a ‘war on women,’ and they need to stop assaulting women, and give that information,” Coats said, referencing the “War on Women” narrative commonly used by abortion advocates. “It’s an assault on women, to prevent women from getting additional information.”

Rep. Matt Lynch (R-Chagrin Falls), a cosponsor of HB 200 and a lawyer with over 30 years of experience, assured Media Trackers that the bill would not violate the Ohio Health Care Freedom Amendment approved by voters in 2011.

“This doesn’t actually deal — I don’t think, unless I’m missing something — with the insurance issue at all,” Lynch said. “There’s no difference than if you were going in there to have your appendix out, and the doctor says, ‘well, you know, here’s the risks of having your appendix out.'”

“Informed consent is a well-established requirement, really, for medical procedures,” Lynch explained. “I’m absolutely confident that it does not run afoul of the Health Care Freedom Amendment.”

“What I like to call this ultrasound access bill, I really think of it as the informed consent bill,” Lynch added. “That’s really what it is. It’s essentially protecting the health of the mother, by making sure she fully understands the risks involved in the abortion procedure.”

HB 200 has been assigned to Rep. Lynn Wachtmann’s (R-Napoleon) Health and Aging committee, where it awaits consideration before facing a vote before the full House of Representatives.