Ohio Governor John Kasich has vetoed the Ohio “Heartbeat Bill,” which would have banned abortion once a fetal heartbeat could be detected. This is the second time Kasich has vetoed a heartbeat bill, the first being two years ago.
The beating of a heart is widely regarded as a sign of life and a preborn child’s heart begins beating at 22 days. When Roe v. Wade was decided almost 46 years ago, the technology to view ultrasounds and discern heartbeats was not widely available. The Supreme Court presented multiple comments on the ongoing historical debate about when life begins, even as it released its landmark decision.
However, in a statement regarding the heartbeat bill veto, which took place December 21, Kasich explained that he thought the bill was “contrary to the Supreme Court of the United States’ current rulings on abortion.” It is because of this that he envisioned a lawsuit against Ohio during which the law would be “struck down as unconstitutional” and the state would then have to pay “hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars to cover the legal fees for the pro-choice activists’ lawyers.” He felt that the veto was in the interest of the people of Ohio.
For Kasich to assume that a court, with a changing landscape of judges, would automatically kill legislation is unfounded, as the current court has not yet had to rule on such decisions since the seating of Judge Neil Gorsuch and Judge Brett Kavanaugh, and perhaps others by the time a case like this could reach the court.
Abortion advocates cried for fear during the Kavanaugh hearings, declaring that Roe v. Wade was going to be overturned. While that was far-fetched based on a single judge being seated, the fear of the abortion industry is likely based on cases like the heartbeat bill reaching the high court, which would then have to review the Roe v. Wade decision in light of technological advances. Kasich’s veto today has ensured that this case won’t be the one by which that happens.