Update: The Ohio House approved the Heartbeat Bill on Wednesday on a 56-39 vote, sending the measure to Gov. John Kasich for his signature. Kasich has 10 days to decide whether to veto the measure. If the governor does nothing, or signs the bill within 10 days, Ohio would have the strongest restrictions on abortion in the nation.
The Ohio Senate approved a bill Tuesday banning abortions after the fetal heartbeat can be detected. Language for the “Heartbeat Bill” was added to H.R. 493, a measure dealing with child abuse, and was approved on a 20-11 vote. The amended measure passed on a vote of 21-10.
The bill would “generally prohibit an abortion of an unborn human individual with a detectable heartbeat.” Science shows that 21 days after conception, a fetal heartbeat can be detected.
Paula Westwood, executive director of the Right to Life of Greater Cincinnati, applauded the passage:
“Cincinnati Right to Life, the entire statewide Ohio pro-life coalition, and all else who have supported the Unborn Heartbeat Protection bill the past several years thanks and congratulates the Ohio Senate on this momentous vote. We look forward to passage of H.B. 493 with Heartbeat protection amendment in the Ohio House, and Governor Kasich’s immediate support.”
The Heartbeat Bill has been introduced in three consecutive sessions of the general assembly, and could potentially be overturned by the courts if passed. Critics of the measure say similar state-level laws, which were struck down, are unconstitutional. Although pro-lifers support measures protecting preborn children from abortion, Life News notes that pro-life groups are divided on heartbeat legislation, since states would shoulder the legal costs of abortion activists should these laws be struck down.