S.B. 127, legislation to ban abortion at 20 weeks, cleared the Ohio Senate 23-9 on Wednesday, Reuters reports.
The bill, which Ohio Right to Life calls a “pro-life ‘litmus test,’” is based on fetuses’ ability to feel pain at approximately five months of pregnancy and makes only one exception for medical emergencies.
The bill is expected to easily pass the Republican-controlled House when it considers the bill this fall, and be signed into law by pro-life Governor John Kasich, though it may be challenged in court, as similar laws in Idaho and Arizona have been.
Abortion defenders deny that fetuses can feel pain at this stage of pregnancy. “Medical decisions need to be based on science and patient needs and not the whim of state Legislature,” said Erika Boothman of Ohio State University Medical Students for Choice. But James Agresti has recently written on Live Action News that several medical authorities, including the New England Journal of Medicine and Fetal Diagnosis and Therapy, indicate that fetuses can actually feel pain earlier than 20 weeks.
In a press release celebrating the vote, Ohio Right to Life notes that according to polling by Quinnipiac University, limiting abortion to the first 20 weeks is backed by 60% of Americans, 59% of women, and 56% of independents.