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The election recount spotlight is on Florida, with three hotly contested races. Also on the Monday rundown: Can women sustain their record election gains? And a bill in Congress would help fund preservation of historic sites.

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Ohio Lawmakers Approve 20th Abortion Restriction Under Kasich

Opponents say a Down syndrome abortion ban bill in Ohio ignores the unique circumstances that surround each woman's pregnancy. (Progress Ohio/Flickr)
Opponents say a Down syndrome abortion ban bill in Ohio ignores the unique circumstances that surround each woman's pregnancy. (Progress Ohio/Flickr)
December 14, 2017

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Ohio lawmakers passed a bill on Wednesday that, if signed, would become the 20th attack on reproductive health approved in the state since Gov. John Kasich took office.

The Ohio Senate, on a non-party line vote, approved HB 214, which bans abortions after a fetal diagnosis of Down syndrome. Ohio Right to Life and other supporters say the bill will prevent discrimination based on genetic make-up.

But Jamie Miracle, deputy director at NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio, countered that the measure is simply unconstitutional.

"This bill really prevents women from having honest conversations about her options with her physician following a complicated medical diagnosis,” Miracle said. "This legislation callously disregards the unique circumstances that surround each woman's pregnancy."

Under the legislation, a doctor who is found to have violated the ban would be charged with a fourth degree felony and could lose his or her medical license. Miracle said that would have a chilling effect on the medical community and could lead to a shortage of gynecologists willing to practice in Ohio.

Both North Dakota and Indiana have passed similar laws, although the Indiana measure was blocked by a U.S. District Court judge in September. Here in Ohio, Miracle said the attacks on reproductive health care need to stop.

"This is another example of Ohio legislators ignoring the fact that they are passing an unconstitutional ban that could cost our state hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of dollars to defend in court."

Those in the disability community have been divided on the issue, with some saying the bill suggests certain disabilities are more worthy of life than others.

This collaboration is produced in association with Media in the Public Interest and funded by the George Gund Foundation.

Mary Kuhlman, Public News Service - OH