A state representative proposed an amendment to Ohio’s heartbeat bill that seeks an exemption for African-American women, citing historical “rape and forced birth imposed on enslaved women.”
Democratic state Rep. Janine R. Boyd proposed the amendment to a state House committee Tuesday after the Ohio Senate passed Heartbeat Bill SB23 banning abortions after a fetal heartbeat is detected, according to The Hill. A heartbeat usually becomes detectable between six and nine weeks in pregnancy. Many women do not know they’re pregnant at six weeks.
The bill advanced through the Ohio House committee Tuesday and will likely be signed into law by Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine if it passes the full House. The measure will not only bar women from having an abortion once a fetal heartbeat is detected, but will also fine physicians who violate the law up to $20,000, according to The Hill.
During a hearing on the bill Tuesday, Democratic state Boyd proposed an amendment allowing the exemption of African-American women. Boyd says their “history includes rape and forced birth imposed on enslaved women and black women after slavery,” according to her website.
“I consider the slave trade and how black slaves were once treated like cattle and put out to stud in order to create generations of more slaves,” she said Tuesday. “I consider the how many masters raped their slaves. I consider how many masters forced their slaves to have abortions, and I consider how many pregnant slaves self-induced abortions so that they would not contribute children they had to this slave system. … And so I ask you, with all of your values, to consider that and vote yes to this amendment.”
The committee rejected the amendment 11-7.
“Every human being is valuable regardless of the color of his or her skin. To suggest that only black babies should be killed in Ohio is shocking racism not befitting of a representative of the Ohio House,” Created Equal President Mark Harrington said in a press release pushing back against Boyd’s proposal.
Created Equal is a national pro-life organization dedicated to equality for all people, according to its website.
Black women had approximately 40 percent of all abortions in the U.S. in 2015, according to the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. White women had 49 percent of the total number of abortions, KFF reported.
Approximately 13 percent of the U.S. population is black.
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