The Ohio legislature is considering a bill that would make it illegal for abortions to be covered by insurance in most cases. House Bill 182 would make it so that many private insurance companies in the state could no longer cover the costs of elective abortions, forcing women to pay out of pocket.
The bill’s sponsor is Rep. John Becker (R- Union Township). He says of the bill:
“The intent is to save lives and reduce the cost of employers and employees health care insurance.”
The bill goes even further than abortion and seems to include things like morning-after-pills as well, because it also prohibits coverage of “drugs or devices used to prevent the implantation of a fertilized ovum.”
The bill goes on to address a medically deadly situation too: ectopic pregnancies. This is where the embryo is in the fallopian tube instead of the uterus. If it is not aborted, the woman dies 100% of the time. Rep. Becker says of this part:
“Part of that treatment would be removing that embryo from the fallopian tube and reinserting it in the uterus so that is defined as not an abortion under this bill.”
However, a medical professional says that this is something that is medically impossible. Jaime Miracle, deputy director of NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio says:
“That doesn’t exist in the realm of treatment for ectopic pregnancy. You can’t just re-implant. It’s not a medical thing.”
According to Miracle, the bill would mandate that women suffering ectopic pregnancies would have to wait until it is about to kill them to have the lifesaving abortion. She says:
“This bill will have grave impacts on Ohio’s infant and maternal mortality rates.”
The bill also seems to target birth control, rather than just abortions. Miracle continues:
“Birth control pills, IUDs and other methods of birth control like that – the bill states that any birth control that could act to stop a fertilized egg from implanting in the uterus is considered an abortion under this bill.”
Becker brushes that assertion aside, though, saying:
“When you get into the contraception and abortifacients, that’s clearly not my area of expertise, but I suppose, if it were true that what we typically know as the pill would be classified as an abortifacient, then I would imagine the drug manufacturers would reformulate it so it’s no longer an abortifacient and is strictly a contraceptive.”
This all comes just as Governor Mike DeWine (R) has signed a “heartbeat” bill into law, which means that abortions can be banned as early as six weeks. Many women are unaware of their pregnancies at that early stage. So, the bill actively bans most abortions in the state. House Bill 82 would finish the banning of reproductive health services altogether by targeting abortion.
Advocates for a woman’s right to choose plan to sue over both bills.
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Shannon Barber is a progressive queer feminist and budding political scientist. She is passionate about issues of social justice, including but not limited to racial equality, criminal justice reform, pro-Black politics, and LGBTQ equality. She hopes to change the world, one mind at a time.