The stance of pro-life or pro-choice has been a political debate for years. in 2019, Ohio lawmakers passed one of the strictest legislations banning abortions as early as six weeks into a pregnancy, but this bill never went into effect. This law is known as the heartbeat bill, which would ban abortions once a fetal heartbeat is detected.
Denise Leipold, Executive Director of Right to Life Northeast Ohio, said “People say, ‘well if your heart stops when you die, then it must mean you’re living when you start, so this is something that can overturn Roe v. Wade’ and that’s not exactly the truth.” The heartbeat bill is not in effect in Ohio because it goes against federal law. Current laws in Ohio ban abortions after 20 weeks gestation. Leopold said, “you can pass all the heartbeat bills you want, but because of the precedence with the United States Supreme Court they probably won’t take effect. The only way they could take effect is if Roe v. Wade is overturned.”
Nearly a third of women in the state had misconceptions of abortion laws. this confusion could be because of the heartbeat bill. Suzanne Holt, Kent State’s director of Women’s Studies, said “When Mike DeWine signed the bill, I think to speak to the confusion, most people that were paying attention just thought ‘well that’s it then.” She spoke on abortion as a women’s rights issue stating, “how can we not be confused? There’s such contradictory information as to how we’re valued, what rights we have, do we have any say in our own lives, what’s best for us, what’s best for our children, what’s best for our work. I mean everybody has an opinion on women and most women feel obligated to know how to please.”
With the issue coming back to the forefront – women across Ohio are taking sides. Leopold spoke on behalf of her organization saying, “if we are going to stop abortion, we want to do it at the moment of conception.” On the other hand, Holt spoke with a pro-choice view. She said, “I think it’s ludicrous, I think it’s really intrusive. I think it’s really disrespectful towards women, towards basic biology.”
The topic of abortion has evolved over the last several years as a women’s rights issue. Holt explained that the debate over abortions used to be a “shouting fest.” Several women were frustrated that this was just another issue they had minimal say in about their own rights. She believes the issue has evolved since then, and women realize “this is a tactical battle they have to win.”
United States politicians continue to debate this issue.
Alexandria Manthey is a TV2 Reporter, contact them at [email protected]