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Rep. Stein shares thoughts on abortion bill

LynAnne Vucovich • Dec 12, 2019 at 7:00 PM

NORWALK — House Bill 413 is causing waves throughout Ohio, and a local representative who will vote on it is hedging about whether he will support the anti-abortion legislation.

State Rep. Dick Stein didn’t answer questions about the bill’s more controversial aspects, including whether abortion should be classified in state law as murder. 

The bill, introduced by state Reps. Candice Keller and Ron Hood, would amend sections of the Ohio Revised Code “to create the capital offense of aggravated abortion murder and the offense of abortion murder,” the proposed legislation states.

The bill proposes doctors should attempt “to re-implant an ectopic pregnancy into the woman's uterus,” despite the fact that re-implanting a pregnancy isn’t a procedure that exists.

Doctors performing the procedure and women who have an abortion could be charged with murder if the legislation passes. Additionally, it would outlaw abortion and define a fertilized egg as human life.

The Reflector asked Norwalk’s state representative, Dick Stein (R), about his thoughts on the legislation.

Stein co-sponsored the first introduction to the legislation, House Bill 565, last year. HB413 is 428 pages longer than its first draft.

Matthew Noonan, legislative aide to Stein, said there are “428 pages that have not been explained to Rep. Stein in any manner.”

“For this reason alone, Rep. Stein did not co-sponsor the legislation,” Noonan said. “It is also not clear if HB413 maintains exemptions for the life of the mother.”

As his voting records show, Stein supports life. However, he is still forming an opinion on HB413 as he learns what it contains, Noonan said.

The state representative hopes the bill is “fleshed out” by the House health committee and “these medical, moral and ethical questions are addressed,” Noonan said.

Stein also is looking forward to the Legislative Service Commission’s analysis, which will be posted when the legislation has its first hearing, to explain all of the provisions it lists, Noonan said.

Some of the questions that Noonan and Stein didn’t address are, whether or not Stein believes reimplanting a pregnancy is possible, if abortion should be considered murder, and when he potentially could be voting on HB413.  

A study was published Dec. 5 by Obstetrics & Gynecology, the journal of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. The study, conducted by Dr. Mitchell Creinin, was meant to estimate the safety of using oral progesterone in a high dose to stop a medical abortion.

This study was brought to an end early after 25 percent of the participants were hospitalized due to vaginal bleeding.

“We could not estimate the efficacy of progesterone for mifepristone antagonization due to safety concerns,” according to the conclusion of the study. “Patients in early pregnancy who use only mifepristone may be at high risk of significant hemorrhage.”

The idea that progesterone can be used to stop a medication abortion is proposed in Senate Bill 155, sponsored by U.S. Sen. Peggy Lehner (R-Sixth District). If the bill is passed, doctors could face criminal charges if they don’t tell patients about progesterone.

“Sadly there are several other pending bills that are also based on unsound science invest fictional medical procedures,” said Kellie Copeland, executive director of National Abortion Rights Action League Pro-Choice Ohio, in a prepared statement.

The study comes three weeks after HB413 was introduced, with 21 members of the House signing it.

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