Humanism holds to the inherent worth and dignity of all people and grounds our ethics in science while seeking to balance individual freedom and interdependent responsibility to others. The decision from the U.S. Supreme Court in Dobbs v Jackson Women’s Health Organization violates all these principles as does the six-week abortion ban in Ohio. Dobbs empowers those systems that seek to treat women and other people who can get pregnant as second-class citizens, essentially reducing them to chattel status.
We have seen these systems already go into effect across the country, including in Ohio with our six-week abortion ban also known as “the Heartbeat Bill.” Science has long held that the fetal heart has not fully developed at six weeks and takes an additional four to six weeks to fully develop. Even at that stage, the fetus is not viable and could not survive outside of the womb, as other organs need to develop further. To ban abortion at six weeks due to a so called “fetal heartbeat” is arbitrary and not based on any scientific fact of human embryonic development.
Even if we take the biological viability of the fetus as a potential legal dividing line, this limits the freedom of women and other people who can get pregnant. In Ohio, we empower and trust family members to make difficult decisions regarding the wellbeing and quality of their loved ones all the time. Every day, in hospitals across Ohio people are weighing the quality of life and deciding if it is worth continuing aggressive medical interventions. Many times, these family members decide that the quality of life afforded their loved one through these interventions is not a life worth living. They make the difficult decision, based on the best available science, ethics, and their own values to seek out care that may not extend the person’s life, but provides a quality of life worth living. Nevertheless, when it comes to fetal viability, the quality of life of the potential child, parents, etc., the Ohio Legislature has removed any freedom or trust of the family to make an ethically informed decision based on their unique circumstances.It is from these foundations, that the Board of the Humanist Community of Central Ohio strongly condemns the Dobbs decision removing the constitutional guarantee of safe legal abortions. We equally condemn Ohio’s six-week abortion ban as unscientific and immoral. We argue that all laws impacting the medical field and medical decisions of individuals be based on the best available science not arbitrary religious doctrines. We encourage our members to call their State Representatives and Senators to make their opposition to this bill known and their desire to increase access to abortion care.