As Live Action News previously reported, earlier this week the Ohio legislature passed a bill banning most abortions after the fetal heartbeat can be detected. On Thursday, a second pro-life bill was passed, which would ban abortion after 20 weeks. Both bills allow for exceptions for health of the mother.
The 20-week abortion ban would block the vast majority of abortions in Ohio, at the point in pregnancy when preborn children can feel pain. Former abortionist Dr. Anthony Levatino describes a prevalent second trimester abortion procedure (D&E), which is committed up to 24 weeks.
According to the Ohio Department of Health, less than 1 percent of abortions committed in the state in 2015 occurred after 21 weeks into the pregnancy. Mike Gonidakis, president of Ohio Right to Life, praised the bill’s passage.
“When enacted, this legislation will immediately begin saving hundreds of babies throughout Ohio, and be a part of a national movement that will save thousands of lives,” Gonidakis said. “By protecting children who can feel pain from the brutal practice of abortion, Ohio is challenging the archaic, arbitrary framework set up by 7 activist judges more than 40 years ago.”
Pro-abortion groups, however, were quick to speak out against the legislation:
— CenterforReproRights (@ReproRights) December 7, 2016
Both bills will now head to the desk of Gov. John Kasich, who is pro-life, but has expressed concerns about whether laws, such as the Heartbeat Bill, would be considered constitutional. While most pro-lifers would fundamentally support such a ban, at least as a step in the right direction, some pro-lifers feel that passing bills that will only be overturned in court – leaving the state with the responsibility of paying pro-abortion legal costs – could be counter-productive.
Ohio State Senate President Keith Faber believes that pro-life legislation is advancing at least in part due to recent election results, which saw pro-life candidates gain ground across the nation.
Faber cited the election of Donald Trump, who has committed to appointing pro-life justices to the Supreme Court, as a boost to the pro-life movement. When asked about the chances of the Heartbeat Bill surviving legal challenges, Faber responded, “I think it has a better chance than it did before.”