Our View: Leave women’s rights to women

DKS Editors

New legislation in Ohio has changed the way health care clinics handle abortions. In October, Ohio adopted a controversial “incremental strategy” to cut abortion rates while bypassing Roe v. Wade, the 1973 Supreme Court decision that legalized most abortions in the United States.

As part of the legislation, Ohio Gov. John Kasich passed a budget bill requiring state abortion clinics to offer women considering abortion evidence of their fetus’ beating heart prior to the procedure. Understandably, critics came out against the bill, saying it was designed to shame women away from abortions.

We’re troubled by the news of this bill for several reasons.

First, Kasich’s bill was sneaky. The American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio is already suing the state because of the way the abortion provisions were quietly slipped into the budget. A decision this immense with such a personal effect on Ohio citizens should not have been smuggled in, shrouded in other legislation.

Second, restricting abortion won’t end it. Women who feel the need for an abortion will find a way to get one, regardless of the laws. Creating legal barriers for these women puts them in danger by limiting their opportunities for a safe procedure.

We don’t believe undergoing an abortion is a choice any woman makes lightly. It’s a serious and life-altering decision that causes enough trauma for women facing an unwanted pregnancy without the added pressure of being questioned about beating hearts and ultrasounds. It’s insensitive and even cruel to challenge a woman in a waiting room preparing for such a difficult moment by lecturing her on a choice she’s clearly already weighed.

The government already had its chance to rule on the abortion debate, and the Supreme Court came down in favor of a woman’s right to make her own choices about her body. That should have been the end of it. Abortion is legal, and this bill trying to curtail it violates women’s rights in an underhanded and dangerous way.

The above editorial is the consensus opinion of the Daily Kent Stater editorial board.