Anti-abortion demonstrators march. (Photo by Robert Zullo/ States Newsroom).

BY: SUSAN TEBBEN – Ohio Capital Journal

The newest abortion regulation in the state is now headed to the Ohio governor’s desk after the Senate agreed to technical House amendments.

Senate Bill 157, the so-called “born alive” abortion bill, passed the Senate 24-7 on Wednesday. The bill expands the crime of “abortion manslaughter” to include inaction by doctors if a child is “born alive” in an abortion procedure.

The bill has already passed the House and the Senate, but prior to the House’s 59-33, they made technical changes so the bill conforms with rules in separate and unrelated legislation.

One of the technical amendments takes a change made in House Bill 110, the main operating budget, and conforms the bill to the changes. In HB 110, legislators narrowed the distance allowed between an ambulatory surgical facility (the category under which abortion clinics fall) and a hospital where a consulting physician has admitting privileges, from 30 to 25 miles.

The other change made applies physician disciplinary actions made in the bill to the Ohio Revised Code’s regulations on medical licensure, according to the Legislative Service Commission.

SB 157 requires physicians who perform or attempt an abortion in which the child is born alive to “immediately provide certain newborn care,” and to complete a “child survival form.”

Doctors could face charges of felony abortion manslaughter for failing to “take measures to preserve the health of a child born alive after abortion,” including post-birth care, calling for emergency assistance and arranging hospital transfer.

Opponents say because the bill prohibits doctors funded and affiliated with public medical schools from participating in variance agreements with abortion clinics, it could spell closure of Southwest Ohio clinics.

Abortion advocates have also said the bill duplicates regulations already a part of law in terms of life-saving care, and purports to fix a problem that is already tracked and statistically rare in the state.

Gov. Mike DeWine seems likely to pass the bill based on his previous pro-life stances.

Susan Tebben is an award-winning journalist with a decade of experience covering Ohio news, including courts and crime, Appalachian social issues, government, education, diversity and culture. She has worked for The Newark Advocate, The Glasgow Daily Times, The Athens Messenger, and WOUB Public Media. She has also had work featured on National Public Radio.