It is a hopeful day for abortion survivors in Ohio. Senate Bill 157, which requires reporting on the number of infants who survive abortions and strengthens the state’s existing protections for these infants, has been sent to Governor Mike DeWine’s desk. If he signs it, Ohio will become the 10th state to establish reporting requirements regarding abortion survival rates.
This change is significant. Currently, most states do not report abortion survival statistics, so we have no way of knowing just how many babies survive abortion attempts in the United States each year. However, we know that these babies exist. Of the nine states that require reporting, six have confirmed cases of abortion survivors—Arizona, Florida, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, and Texas. These states have reported a combined 203 infants who survived abortion attempts since 1997. (It should be noted that Michigan is the only state that has been reporting these numbers as far back as 1997. Most of these states did not begin reporting until at least 2006, and Texas only just began reporting in 2019.)
Given that this data is only from nine states, the true number of abortion survivors in the United States is still largely unknown. The Ohio legislature has done its part to help close the gap—now it’s up to Governor DeWine to see it through.
Ohio SB 157 would do more than simply require yearly reporting on the number of infants who survive abortions. It would require the director of health to develop a child survival form to be submitted to the department each time a child is born alive after an abortion. Some of the information to be gathered on this form includes the type of abortion procedure carried out, the gestational age of the child, and any complications that occurred. With these reports being filed monthly, Ohio would soon have data that would shed light on how often babies are born alive and under what circumstances.
Existing law imposes the criminal penalty of abortion manslaughter if anyone purposely takes the life of a child who is born alive after an attempted abortion. It also requires that care be given to preserve the child’s life. SB 157 would add to these protections by requiring the abortionist to immediately arrange for the transfer of the newborn to a hospital. The bill imposes professional penalties (i.e., revocation or suspension of licensure) for those who fail to comply.
Those in the Ohio legislature who voted for SB 157 have shown themselves to be advocates for abortion survivors. If Governor DeWine signs this bill, the data gleaned as a result will serve to raise awareness about abortion survivors in Ohio and around the country.
Click here to see how your state compares to Ohio regarding Born Alive Protections.