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Strict Ohio Abortion Bill, HB 480, Includes No Exceptions for Victims of Rape or Incest

On Wednesday, May 19, 2021, Texas Governor Greg Abbott signed into law a measure that would prohibit abortions as early as six weeks. We knew this law could be detrimental to the lives of survivors of sexual violence in Texas by not allowing them bodily autonomy. Why does this matter in Ohio? A threat to survivors anywhere, is a threat to survivors everywhere.

Gov. Abbott confirmed these concerns when he said he wouldn’t allow exemptions in the law for cases of rape and incest. Now, this danger has come home to Ohio in the form of Ohio House Bill 480.

Ohio House Bill 480 would ban all abortions in Ohio — going further than the Texas anti-abortion law that was argued before the U.S. Supreme Court on November 1st. OAESV is concerned because, just like Texas’s Senate Bill 8, the Ohio measure has no exceptions for rape or incest.

Survivors deserve to have control over what happens to their bodies in the aftermath of rape or incest.

Survivors of sexual violence often experience long-lasting trauma and commonly endure violation of their bodies. But this bill could make it illegal for a survivor of rape to be in control of their own decisions if they become pregnant as a result of rape or incest.

Forcing any victim of rape or incest to carry their rapist’s child to term is a further violation of their body. Is that what Ohioans really want? Do Ohio lawmakers want to continue that violation, this time in the form of Ohio House Bill 480?

Survivors deserve to have control over what happens to their bodies in the aftermath of rape or incest. We owe it to survivors to trust them and support their decisions. It’s the least we can do after they have suffered a horrific crime.

The Ohio legislature should not allow this harm to happen to survivors of sexual violence. They have a responsibility to honor the autonomy and needs of survivors in our state.

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