Erica Rebussini


A recent bill in Ohio brought to the forefront of the nation’s consciousness the intersection of abortion and capital punishment. The bill sought to redefine “person” to include “unborn humans,” therefore making the termination of a pregnancy the intentional killing of another person. Further, because one of Ohio’s aggravating circumstances for the imposition of capital punishment is child homicide, those who choose to have an abortion would be subject to the possibility of capital punishment. While the bill died in committee, it provides a unique lens through which to examine the intersection of the debate over abortion restrictions and capital punishment as they pertain to the dignity of each person. This paper seeks to analyze those debates through the lens of Ohio Bill 565, assess the value of state action in each arena, and examine the Supreme Court’s jurisprudential inclinations towards recognizing the dignity of each person in those contexts.