Ohio Bill Copies Texas’ Abortion Ban—And Takes It Even Further

by Virginia Duan
Joe Sohm/Visions of America/Getty

Last week, to no one’s surprise, Republican lawmakers in Ohio introduced legislation aping Texas’ evil and cruel abortion law, becoming the second state to do so. (Florida was the first — and quite frankly, I’m really fucking sick of seeing Florida and Texas in the news for any reason except maybe if they suddenly sink into the ocean.) But — and really, we knew this was coming — Ohio takes it a step further and bans all abortions.

While the Supreme Court deliberates on whether SB 8 is legal, the GOP-led state is on the vanguard of states rushing in to severely control and limit life choices for pregnant people and people who can get pregnant. They get around Roe v. Wade, which protects a person’s freedom to choose to have an abortion without — and this is the clincher — excessive government restriction — by having citizens report people they suspect of either getting an abortion or aiding abortions.

You know, for a party that claims they’re all about freeing us from a totalitarian state and drums up jingoism by stirring up anti-Russian and anti-China sentiments, they’re really all about that social control in the very same vein they attribute to “commies” and “socialists.” It makes a person wonder if it’s not necessarily the structure they’re against — and more so who holds the power.

What you need to know about the Ohio bill

Even though Texas made zero exceptions for rape, incest, or sexual abuse, at least SB 8 allows for abortions before a heartbeat is detectable (which is generally before most pregnant people know they’re pregnant, so that’s practically worthless, but still).

No such concessions for Ohio! They take the sadism of “pro-life” to its logical conclusion!

They want to use this same citizen reporting to enforce a ban on all abortions, allowing private citizens to sue anyone who facilitates any abortion, and receiving at least $10,000 in damages should they prevail in a court of law. The law also empowers citizens to sue anyone who impregnates a person who has an abortion “through an act of rape, sexual battery, gross sexual imposition” or other criminal activities. (But, you know, no abortions for people who get impregnated by these illegal acts such as incest, rape, or sexual abuse. That would be merciful and kind — characteristics the anti-abortion side does not recognize or inhabit.)

I suppose we should be grateful they allow for abortions when the pregnant person’s life is endangered but I have a bridge to sell you if you think any of us are grateful.

What states are next?

Lest we place all our hatred, fury, and grief on Ohio, Texas, or Florida, other red states are like, “Hold my beer.”

Arkansas State Sen. Jason Rapert and Missouri state Rep. Mary Elizabeth Coleman (may they be the terminus of their genetic material) have informed the public they each intend to introduce legislation copying SB 8 in their respective states in the upcoming months.

They will be joined in vileness by lawmakers in states including Indiana, Mississippi, North Dakota, and South Dakota. Pro-abortion rights Guttmacher Institute predicts at least 14 states (e.g.: Alabama, Georgia, Idaho, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Oklahoma, South Carolina, and Tennessee) would likely introduce legislation similar to Texas and at least 26 states that would ban abortion outright should Roe v. Wade be overturned.

In case you’re not into math-ing, I’d like to point out that this is approximately 33% of the U.S. that may introduce such restrictive abortion legislation — and over half of the U.S. if Roe v. Wade is gone.

Why this is a dangerous precedent

Does this even need to be stated? Beyond the obvious of severely impugning (yes, as in attacking) the rights of people to have access to safe and legal abortions without undue interference from the government for whatever reason — including rape, incest, sexual abuse, and physical or mental health — SB 8 and copycat laws will have far-reaching consequences.

If the Supreme Court upholds SB 8, we may see the lawsuit provision — essentially the deputization of private citizens to enforce the law — crop up in other issues like gun control or same-sex marriage.

Couple this with the endemic Karen-ness of white folks and the pervasive sense of entitlement white people have about policing POC — and really, any-fucking-one but especially Black bodies — we have a really fucking big problem. As if being a Black or brown person in the U.S. wasn’t already terrifying enough, you have this sort of state sanctioned vigilantism codified into law.

Encouraging citizens — and remember, this includes your family and friends — to nark on each other destroys trust, eating away at relationships. Republicans are voluntarily introducing this poison pill into our free and open society; they welcome the very totalitarian state they decry with open arms and legs.

Big Brother is watching — it is already here.