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Abortion rights protesters rally inside Ohio Statehouse

The protesters chanted and carried signs, first outside the Statehouse, then in the Rotunda, then in the Senate.

COLUMBUS, Ohio — More than 100 abortion rights protesters have rallied inside the Ohio Statehouse and briefly entered the Senate chamber on Tuesday.

The protesters chanted and carried signs, first outside the Statehouse, then in the Rotunda, then in the Senate.

State troopers escorted the protesters from the Senate chamber, where lawmakers had just adjourned their Tuesday session.

Groups organizing the protest included Unite for Reproductive and Gender Equity, the Ohio Women's Alliance, and Planned Parenthood.

The protest came a day before the Senate Health Committee was scheduled to hear a bill that would ban abortions in Ohio in the event of a U.S. Supreme Court decision overturning the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision.

In addition, the bill "would allow for wrongful death civil action against a physician or anyone who performs an abortion. The legislation would apply felony penalties for abortionists while also providing immunity for women upon whom illegal abortions are performed,” according to Ohio Right to Life. 

“I believe abortion bans are wrong and everybody who gets pregnant has the right to do what they want with their bodies and that's a decision they should make with their doctors and no lawmaker should get involved with that,” said Marla Davis of Columbus.

Meanwhile, pro-life group Ohio Right to Life sent 10TV the following statement:

"Ohio Right to Life is proud to be behind this groundbreaking piece of pro-life legislation. S.B. 123 will help ensure that no baby is singled out for death by abortion and that no woman feels like she must choose between herself and her child. Let's be clear: abortion victimizes women and it kills babies. We are ready for an Ohio where every woman in crisis is embraced with real support and where no baby's life is considered disposable. Our time is now. We are going to end abortion." 

State Senators Kristina Roegner, a Republican from Hudson, and Sandra O'Brien, a Republican from Ashtabula, are co-sponsors of the bill and both declined interviews.

Pro-choice supporters argue, banning abortion deprives one of their constitutional rights.

Pro-life supporters believe the conservative U.S. Supreme Court will lean towards overturning Roe v. Wade, which made abortion legal 48 years ago.

In May 2021, the Supreme Court announced that it would hear Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, a case challenging Mississippi’s 15-week abortion ban.

In September 2021, the Supreme Court allowed a Texas law to take effect, basically prohibiting abortion after six weeks.

The Senate Health Committee will meet at 9 a.m. on Wednesday to hear testimony on S.B. 123.

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