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Ohio Gov. Signs Bill To Ban Abortion After 20 Weeks of Pregnancy

July 21, 2011 — Ohio Gov. John Kasich (R) on Wednesday signed into law a bill (HB 78) that bans abortion care after 20 weeks of pregnancy, unless the woman's life is at risk or a doctor determines that the fetus could not survive outside the womb, the Cleveland Plain Dealer reports (Guillen, Cleveland Plain Dealer, 7/20). The measure also requires physicians who perform abortions to submit reports to the Ohio Department of Health within 15 days after the woman is discharged (Women's Health Policy Report, 7/14). The law will become effective within 90 days (Cleveland Plain Dealer, 7/20).

The bill does not contain an exception for the health of the mother, but physicians who are prosecuted for providing abortion care after 20 weeks can use that reason as a defense (AP/WKYC, 7/20). NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio condemned the exceptions for being too narrow and not including rape or incest.

Kellie Copeland, executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio, in a statement said that lawmakers "are endangering women's health because they don't trust women and their doctors to make personal, private decisions for themselves" (Cleveland Plain Dealer, 7/20).