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Abortion providers in Ohio could face criminal charges for not reporting a child who lives after a failed abortion attempt.
COLUMBUS, Ohio — With the national debate over reproductive rights approaching a boiling point, an abortion-related bill had its third hearing in Ohio.
Wednesday, lawmakers heard testimony on Senate Bill 157.
Margie Christie, executive director of Dayton Right to Life, said the measure would require a physician to act to save the life of an infant born alive after a botched abortion.
"No one in this state should ever be left to die," Christie argued. "Not in our streets, not in our hospitals, and certainly not in our ambulatory surgical facilities."
Opponents noted failure to provide care already is a first-degree felony.
Jamie Miracle, deputy director of NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio, questioned the hearing's timing, as last week an abortion "trigger" bill had its first hearing.
"Each time this Legislature hears testimony or introduces yet another total or near-total abortion ban, this issue comes up again to try to provide cover for the extremist anti-abortion agenda of this legislative body," Miracle contended.
Under Senate Bill 123, Ohio would ban all abortions should Roe v. Wade be overturned.
The U.S. Supreme Court will decide a case this fall which could impact the landmark 1973 decision.
Christie countered the new bill is not about limiting abortion access.
"It poses no challenge to Roe v. Wade," Christie asserted. "This bill simply gives a child born alive, outside the womb, regardless of its circumstances, the chance to be alive."
The measure would also create reporting requirements and criminal penalties for clinicians who fail to report a baby born alive after an abortion attempt.
Miracle said fear of going to jail should not be a factor in medical decisions.
"Patients must be able to trust that their doctors are able to provide the best, compassionate and individualized care, without interference from members of the Ohio Legislature," Miracle emphasized.
Wednesday's hearing ended without a vote on Senate Bill 157.