Ohio Gov. John Kasich signs bill banning abortions after 20 weeks

Today, Ohio Governor John Kasich signed into law a bill prohibiting abortions after 20 weeks, while choosing to veto the bill famously known as the “Heartbeat Bill.”

The heartbeat bill would have banned abortions after a baby’s heartbeat is detected by an ultrasound or a doppler, usually at about five or six weeks gestation (the heartbeat is actually present as early as 16 days). Some conservatives saw Ohio’s bill as a potential avenue to overturning Roe v. Wade with new Supreme Court justices appointed by President-elect Donald Trump.

See more photos and videos on fetal development
from the Endowment for Human Development here.

Ohio State Representative Wesley Goodman released a statement, saying:

Incredibly disappointed to see Governor Kasich veto the pro-life Heartbeat Bill. This was a chance to protect the most vulnerable Ohioans and challenge decades of poor legal decisions that go against the original meaning of our Constitution. And I am confident we would have won.

I am thankful that Ohio will now have a “Pain Capable” law that will protect children after 20 weeks, but the pro-life fight continues until every unborn life is safe.

Pro-life groups were not united in their support of the Heartbeat Bill, however. Ohio Right to Life wrote a letter in opposition to the bill, reasoning that the same legislation had already been ruled unconstitutional in North Dakota and Arkansas. They posited that it would be a useless waste of taxpayer dollars spent in fighting for the bill in court, only to have it potentially fail in federal court.

In a press release, Kasich stated that he agreed with Ohio Right to Life:

I agree with Ohio Right to Life and other leading, pro-life advocates that SB 127 [the 20-week ban] is the best, most legally sound and sustainable approach to protecting the sanctity of human life.

However, the Ohio Christian Alliance celebrated the emergence of the bill through the legislature. A number of other pro-life groups in Ohio supported it in theory and in practice. Cincinnati Right to Life, Cleveland Right to Life, Citizens for Community Values, and Ohio Pro-Life Action all backed the Heartbeat Bill.

Prior to Gov. Kasich’s veto, pro-life organization Faith 2 Action wrote a letter urging him to sign the bill. According to the Columbus Dispatch:

In a news release, Faith 2 Action head Janet Porter called on Kasich to sign the Heartbeat Bill, long on its legislative agenda.

“You remember what Gov. Kasich said in the presidential debate: ‘If you save one life, it is as if you saved the world.’ This is an opportunity for Gov. Kasich to save not just one life, but nearly 20,000 lives each year,” she wrote.

“I can’t imagine the governor would want to kill the Heartbeat Bill because he fears the courts might — that makes about as much sense as killing someone because they ‘might die,’ ” Porter said.

The 20-week abortion ban, which just became law, will further strengthen Ohio’s pro-life laws and will save lives. The passage of both bills by the Ohio legislature is evidence the state is moving towards a culture of protecting and valuing life. In 2013, Ohio had fourteen abortion clinics but currently has nine.

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