The proposed legislation would ban abortion at any stage of pregnancy—from the moment of conception, and regardless of whether a heartbeat is present—going further than the Texas Heartbeat Act, also known as Senate Bill 8, signed in May.
The measure is called House Bill 480 or the “2363 Act,” which lawmakers say refers to the average daily number of abortions performed in the United States in 2017.
The bill defines an “unborn child” as an individual human being “from fertilization until live birth.”
“Notwithstanding any other provision of law to the contrary, no person shall purposely perform or attempt to perform an abortion,” reads the text of the bill, which defines abortion as actions that seek “to terminate the pregnancy of a woman, with knowledge that the termination by any of those means will, with reasonable likelihood, cause the death of the unborn child.”
Lawmakers designed the bill to have a similar mechanism of enforcement as the Texas Heartbeat Act, by empowering “any person”—except state or local officials or employees, or the person impregnated the woman involved against her will—to bring civil action against a person who performs or induces an abortion, or knowingly aided in the process.
Plaintiffs who file such lawsuits are able to ask for $10,000 or more against the defendants, including those paying for it via insurance, reported Cleveland.com.
State Reps. Jena Powell (R-Arcanum) and Thomas Hall (R-Madison Twp.) introduced the bill. The two are the youngest members of the Ohio House.
“The 2363 Act is about protecting our fundamental, constitutional right to be born and live. Abortion kills children, scars families, and harms women,” Powell, 27, said in a statement, reported multiple outlets. “We can and must do better.”
“My generation will be the one to outlaw abortion,” Hall, 26, said in a statement.
The bill is being co-sponsored by 33 Ohio House Republicans. The GOP caucus holds a 64–35 majority in the House.
Live Action president and founder Lila Rose called the 2363 Act “the beginning of the end of legally sanctioned abortions in America.”
Meanwhile, Adrienne Kimmell, acting president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, called the measure “dystopian.”
The Supreme Court convened this week to hear arguments in two lawsuits challenging the Texas Heartbeat Act. It has yet to rule on wheteher the cases can proceed or whether to block the law’s enforcement while litigation plays out.
Starting Dec. 1, the Supreme Court will hear the case Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, which focuses on Mississippi’s 2018 Gestational Age Act that bans most abortions after 15 weeks of gestation, and asks the court to rule on the constitutionality of abortion restrictions before an unborn child is capable of living outside the womb.