Monday, October 3

Ohio Rep. Jean Schmidt, co-sponsor of HB 616, calls rape an “opportunity for women”

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In a hearing on Wednesday in the Columbus statehouse, Representative Jean Schmidt (R-Loveland) called rape an “opportunity” for women.

The hearing was held in the House Government Oversight Committee in which House Bill (HB) 598 had its first hearing.

HB 598 is titled the “Enact Human Life Protection Act” — also called the “abortion trigger ban” — and would immediately ban abortion without exception in Ohio should the U.S. Supreme Court issue an opinion that upholds a state’s authority to prohibit abortion or if a U.S. Constitutional amendment is adopted allowing the same.

The bill is sponsored by Schmidt, who also proposed HB 616 to ban the teaching  of “divisive and inherently racist concepts.” in K-12 education.

When Rep. Richard Brown (D-Canal Winchester) asked why HB 598 did not include exceptions for people who become pregnant after being raped, Rep. Schmidt argued that rape is “a shame when it happens, but an opportunity for that woman, no matter how old or young she is, to make a determination about what she’s going to do to help that life become a productive human being.”

Rep. Schmidt continued to say that a rape victim should be forced to carry the fetus, regardless of the physical, mental, or emotional trauma.

Other Ohio State Representatives were quick to condemn Schmidt’s statements.

“Rep. Schmidt’s comments were incredibly disrespectful and insulting to survivors of sexual violence across Ohio, myself included,” said Rep. Jessica E. Miranda (D-Forest Park). “It is despicable that Republicans continue to give a platform to extreme anti-abortion bills that put the lives of Ohioans, especially women and survivors of rape and incest, in danger, but refuse to do anything to ensure justice for sexual assault survivors. We need to protect women and survivors, not rapists and pedophiles.”

“I was appalled by Rep. Schmidt’s comments during her testimony today,” said Rep. Tavia Galonski (D-Akron). “To suggest that rape is anything but a traumatic, horrific event is insensitive and diminishes the anguish that impacts a survivor for the rest of their life. Pregnancy and childbirth are often traumatic and dangerous on their own. To then force a survivor of rape to carry a pregnancy to term and go through childbirth is utterly vile and only adds to the trauma they have already suffered.”

Regarding HB 598, Equality Ohio released a statement to establish the connection between the proposed legislation and the LGBTQ+ community in Ohio.

“LGBTQ+ rights and abortion rights are tightly entwined together through something called “case law precedent,” said Maria Bruno, Public Policy Director at Equality Ohio. “Important cases such as Lawrence v. Texas, which decriminalized intimate acts between consenting same-sex adults, and Obergefell v. Hodges, which recognized marriage as a fundamental right including LGBTQ+ people, are both rooted in case law that protects our fundamental rights to privacy. That line of case law precedent is under attack right now, so it’s more important than ever that we work together to preserve the right to make our own decisions about our private lives.” 🔥

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