Opinion: The Human Rights Protections Act SB 23 infringes upon human rights


Gov. Mike DeWine speaks before signing a bill imposing one of the nation’s toughest abortion restrictions, Thursday, April 11, 2019 in Columbus, Ohio. Lt. Governor Jon A. Husted stands at right holding Faye Zaffini, 2, the daughter of his chief of staff. DeWine’s signature makes Ohio the fifth state to ban abortions after the first detectable fetal heartbeat. That can come as early as five or six weeks into pregnancy, before many women know they’re pregnant. (Fred Squillante/The Columbus Dispatch via AP)

On April 11, Ohio passed one of the most restrictive abortion laws in the U.S. With just one stroke of his pen, Gov. Mike DeWine took away the rights of women all over Ohio, creating a new precedent that will restrict women everywhere.

This law is known as the “heartbeat bill” as it bans abortions that occur after about six weeks, as this is approximately when the fetal heartbeat can be detected. This is very early on in a pregnancy.

The right of a woman to choose what happens with her body is incredibly important for everyone to recognize. A woman owns her body — not the governing body of the state where she lives.

This law will create a great hindrance to the progress that abortion rights made since the landmark Supreme Court case Roe v. Wade, which legalizes abortion up until 22-24 weeks. Because this law prevents abortions after six weeks, by the time most women find out they are pregnant, they will have lost their ability to choose altogether.

Although the law does have an exception — to save the life of a woman — it does not outline any other exceptions, such as if the woman was raped or is unable to take care of a child.

The U.S. has a terrifying pattern of valuing the lives of the unborn more than the lives of those who have been born and are alive. With these strict abortion laws, most women will be left to decide what happens to the child that they may or may not have wanted.

If a woman was unprepared to have a child — whether the pregnancy occurred accidentally, or it occurred due to the woman being raped — the child may not have a proper environment to grow up in.

The fetal heartbeat law is being called the “Human Rights Protection Act” SB 23. The only humans that the law protects are fetuses. The law fails to properly protect the lives of the women, as well as the children after they are born. It does nothing to protect human rights as a whole.

Fortunately, there is a long process to go through before this law is officially passed. The American Civil Liberties Union (A.C.L.U.) of Ohio announced that it will sue in order to stop the law. The A.C.L.U. plans to sue on the behalf of Pre-Term Cleveland, Planned Parenthood of Greater Ohio, Planned Parenthood of Southwest Ohio and the Women’s Med Center of Dayton.

“The legislation is blatantly unconstitutional and we will fight to the bitter end to ensure that this bill is permanently blocked,” the A.C.L.U. of Ohio legal director Freda Levenson said in an article from NPR.

The implications of this law, if it is not declared unconstitutional in the courts, are great. Many anti-abortion groups are hoping this law becomes a new precedent that strikes down Roe v. Wade. This will restrict the rights of women across the country.

Women’s rights have come a long way in the past 100 years. This abortion law will do nothing but undermine that progress. Women deserve the right to choose what happens to their bodies and to choose their futures.

So far, federal judges in both Kentucky and Iowa have blocked similar laws or have struck them down completely as they are unconstitutional. Hopefully, this will be the case in Ohio as well.

The government should not be able to dictate whether or not a woman gets to choose what happens to her body. This law should be declared unconstitutional so women in Ohio can look towards a future where they choose what happens, not government officials.

Anika Veeraraghav is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. She can be reached by email at anika.veeraraghav@uconn.edu.

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