Now that one of the most restrictive abortion laws in the United States is in effect in Ohio, some Republican leaders in the state don’t want to discuss it.
Consider Dave Yost, Ohio Attorney General. Immediately after this, on June 24, he reached the court. Roe vs. Wade It was reversed to implement the Ohio law – a six-week abortion ban – which was signed in 2019 by Gov.
Then, earlier this month, Indianapolis Star The report said the 10-year-old rape victim was forced to move to Indiana to terminate the pregnancy. In light of the report, Yost expressed lingering doubts about the existence of the rape victim on Fox News. Those suspicions were shattered two days later, when Columbus police arrested a 27-year-old man, they say, who confessed to raping the child at least twice.
And since his arrest, Yost has struggled to support his claim on Fox News that under Ohio law, a 10-year-old can still get an abortion in Ohio.
As of late last week, Yost and his staff were not only refusing to say how old a girl — or a teen, or a woman — must be before the law to have a child of her rapist. Her communications director also did not say whether the attorney general supports the abortion restrictions, which she acted so quickly to implement less than a month ago.
Ohio law prohibits most abortions after about six weeks after a woman is pregnant. It makes no exception for cases of rape or incest.
Yost caused much confusion on July 11 when he told Fox host Jesse Waters that he was skeptical about the existence of the Ohio 10-year-old and said it was a “hoax” to force him to leave the state for an abortion. Was gone, if she was really real.
“There is a medical emergency exception to Ohio’s heart palpitations law,” Yost told Waters. “It’s wider than just mom’s life. It breaks my heart to think that this young girl — if she exists and if this terrible thing really happened to her — doesn’t have to leave Ohio for treatment.” Was.
Was he saying that a pregnancy by a girl so young would automatically qualify her for exceptions because it would put her at risk of death or “substantial and irreversible loss of a major bodily function”?
In an analysis, the Legislative Service Commission stated that the law does not make any age-based exceptions.
“Ohio’s abortion prohibition applies regardless of the circumstances of conception or the age of the mother,” it said, Washington Post,
After the girl’s existence was confirmed, Yost’s office claimed she had not told Fox viewers that 10-year-olds were automatically exempt under Ohio law.
Yost’s office emphasized that his assessment was not related to age requirements, but to whether the pregnancy would be considered a medical emergency. Columbus Dispatch Reported on 14 July.
However, the two OB-GYNs said that from a medical standpoint, there is nothing that would automatically qualify 10-year-olds as a group for abortion exceptions under Ohio law. Such pregnancies are risky, he told capital journalBut there are many others as well.
And besides, such a claim makes no sense in the context of Yoast’s appearance on Fox. Was he saying he was familiar with the 10-year-old’s personal health condition, while he continued to doubt her existence?
Yost’s communications director Bethany McCorkle responded by pointing to an “explainer” from her office issued Thursday. It discussed exceptions to the law, but it didn’t shed any light on whether a 10-year-old would automatically be eligible for them or how Yoast might have learned of a girl’s personal circumstances, which she said. may not be real.
For doctors, when and whether the law allows abortion is not just an academic exercise. If they violate it, they can be charged with a felony, prosecuted in civil court and subject to professional sanctions.
In her position as attorney general, Yost can take enough steps to clear up confusion in her Fox News appearance — and more generally by law, said Northeast Ohio OB-GYN Maria Phillis.
It can “issue guidance to the state and its agencies and even the general public to say, ‘Hey, how exactly is this law supposed to be enforced,'” she said. capital journal Last week. “So if he feels that just being 10 years old is a sufficient medical necessity to require an abortion, he can make that statement and give clear guidance.”
“He’s the attorney general. He can say, ‘We don’t think we should be prosecuting anyone for the abortion of a 10-year-old girl.’ He might say, ‘I don’t think we should be prosecuting a doctor to make a decision under this law.’ But he isn’t. trying to tell.
McCorkle was asked why Yost had not issued such guidance. After all, it’s been more than three years since the government signed the law, 10 weeks after the decision was overturned. Roe vs. Wade It was leaked and more than three weeks after the actual verdict was handed down.
“When have we ever issued guidance after the Supreme Court’s decision?” McCorkle responded in an email. “The (Ohio Department of Health) is statutorily required to write the rules; I think the question is better suited for them.”
Of course, any guidance from Yost in this matter would be in relation to the Ohio law, Senate Bill 23, not the decision of the US Supreme Court. Dobbs vs. Jackson Women’s Health OrganizationWhich cleared the way for the Ohio law to be enforced.
When pointed this out, McCorkle replied, “Please share with me where we need to give guidance on some of the laws.”
Meanwhile, Health Department spokesman Ken Gordon identified the passage in the Ohio law that defines a “medical emergency.”
He continued, “While this section also provides examples of conditions that constitute a serious risk of substantial and irreversible impairment of a major bodily function, the physician should exercise his or her good-faith medical judgment on the basis of facts known to the physician.” At that time, whether other conditions or specific facts constitute a medical emergency.”
But when asked if Yost had given his department any guidance on how to comply with SB 23, he replied that the Department of Health “considers all communications with the Attorney General’s Office to be privileged.”
As confusion and controversy over Ohio’s abortion restrictions grow, the state’s Republican leaders are not answering some of the tough questions it raises. Despite being asked several times, Yost’s associates, a former attorney general, have not stated whether their bosses think the new law requires a man to have children of his rapists — or whether they are personally involved. The problem with what you think.
Last week, a Yost spokeswoman also didn’t say whether her boss supports SB23.
His past actions and statements indicate that he used the least.
“Sometimes, development of the law requires bold steps,” he said in a statement just after the law was passed in 2019. “Over the past 46 years, the practice of medicine has changed. Science has changed. Even the point of feasibility has changed. Only the law is left behind. This law is a stable, objective way to guide the courts. standard provides.”
Less than an hour after the US Supreme Court overturned Roe vs. Wade on June 24, Yoast took to Twitter To announce that his office has already filed a motion to enforce the Ohio law.
“BREAKING: We filed a motion in federal court a while ago to breach the injunction against Ohio’s Heartbeat Law, based on the now-denied examples of Roe and Casey,” it said.
And last week, as he attempted to sow doubts about the existence of the Ohio child who had been raped, Yost slapped the Dispatch to Indiana doctor Caitlin Barnard, the child’s caregiver, calling him someone who Called “He who has a clear ax to grind.”
Bernard’s axe, apparently, was speaking out against the end of Roe vs. Wade By arguing that it could compromise patient care.
But Yoast spokesman McCorkle did not respond directly last week when asked if Yoast supports Ohio’s new abortion restrictions. He only said, “The Attorney General’s job is to enforce the laws that exist.”
Ohio OB-GYN, Phyllis, said working through the coronavirus pandemic has been difficult “in the midst of laws trying to stop us from taking good care of our patients and then a worker to speak up and say is being called. Our patients are going to be a problem and here’s why… I mean, come on. What is Dave Yost doing to care for any of our patients? That’s what I want to know.”
This story was originally posted by Ohio Capital Journal and reposted here with permission.
Stay connected with Citybeat. Subscribe to our newsletters, and follow us on Facebook, Instagram, TwitterGoogle News, Apple News and Reddit.
Send Citibeat a news or story tip or submit a calendar event.