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The disgusting cruelty of Ohio’s extremist abortion ban is intolerable




Photo by Gayatri Malhotra on Unsplash

They were warned. Ohio Republican lawmakers and Gov. Mike DeWine were warned time and again that their abortion ban was cruel and would lead to heartbreaking situations of unimaginable pain and anguish for many people.

They were warned that their abortion ban set a stage of legal nightmares for doctors and personal nightmares for patients. They were warned that pregnancy is complicated and comes with inherent dangers that radical, extremist lawmaking would make infinitely worse.

They were warned of the pain; they were warned of the suffering; they were warned of the torment that some patients would experience if Ohio state government inserted itself into doctor’s offices and emergency rooms to dictate the reproductive health of Ohioans.

They didn’t care. They ignored the warnings, then passed and signed Ohio’s extremist abortion ban anyway.

When the U.S. Supreme Court overturned national abortion rights in its Dobbs decision, Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost rushed to implement Ohio’s heartless, draconian law.

More than two months later, Ohio doctors are sharing stories just as horrifying as any possibility lawmakers and the governor were explicitly warned against.

They are telling of women who have partial deliveries too undeveloped to survive see them stall. In that condition — half-delivered, these patients have had to sign paperwork — and then wait for 24 hours, or for the fetus’s heart to stop, OCJ’s Marty Schladen reported Wednesday.

Women suffering other complications such as a detached umbilical cord have faced similar intrusions just after they were devastated to learn they would lose a child they dearly wanted.

They, too, have had to wait a day or for fetal demise. In one instance, that took 14 hours.

Other women — shattered to learn that the baby they’re carrying lacks vital organs necessary for survival — are being told that in Ohio they have to carry that baby, possibly for months, only to see it be stillborn, or to watch it quickly die.

“Lawmakers didn’t go into this blindly,” Tani Malhotra, a maternal fetal medicine doctor, said. “Physicians provided testimony. We called their offices. We sat with legislators to help educate them and tell them why this is bad policy. The (American Medical Association) and the College of Obstetrics and Gynecology tried to explain to them why this is bad law. They were educated. They knew exactly what these consequences were going to be because we told them.”

What is one to make of people who can hear such testimony from medical experts and doctors — testimony warning of enormous, gut-wrenching, heart-breaking pain that would inevitably be caused by this bad, thoughtless law — and ignore it?

The stridency of ignorance? The unearned confidence of religious zealotry?

The casual disregard of humanity and human empathy in favor of extremist ideology removed from reality? The ignoble placating and pleasing of political special interests over compassionate human interests? All of that?

Yes. All of that.

They call themselves “moral,” yet they would force 10-year-old children to destroy their bodies carrying and delivering pregnancies from their rapists.

Their supporters call themselves “values voters” and their organizations centers of “virtue,” yet the law they advocated and got passed and signed forces women with a half-delivered doomed pregnancy to undergo an onerous bureaucratic process of sneering legal paperwork before the tragedy that has befallen them can be medically addressed.

The women suffering these tragedies over pregnancies they wanted are shamed for the loss of them out of their control, falsely told they have “options” when they do not.

These are not representative of good human values, and it’s certainly no virtue to subject others to such trauma and cruelty.

The vast majority of Ohioans are not extremist on abortion: They generally believe there should be some restrictions on abortions, but abortion care should not be criminalized and banned such as it is now in Ohio.

This is because most Ohioans understand that the world is complex, and human situations are nuanced and complicated.

This sledgehammer of extremist law inflicts grave injustice unbefitting of such sensitive issues.

But this sledgehammer of injustice is exactly what Ohio Republicans have now taken to these very private, very personal decisions.

They were warned, and they did it anyway.

If this cruelty and suffering is what they wanted, they’ve certainly created a lot of it.

OCJ Editor-in-Chief David DeWitt has more than 15 years experience covering Ohio government, politics and policy, including education, health care, crime and courts, poverty, state and local government, business, labor, energy, environment, and social issues. He has worked for the National Journal, The New York Observer, The Athens NEWS, and He holds a bachelor’s degree from Ohio University’s E.W. Scripps School of Journalism and is a board member of the E.W. Scripps Society of Alumni and Friends. He can be found on Twitter @DC_DeWitt.

This commentary was republished from the Ohio Capital Journal under a Creative Commons license.

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