A bill banning abortion after a fetal heartbeat can be detected has passed the Ohio Senate by an 18-13 vote. Last month, the Ohio House also voted in favor of the bill 58-35, but the Senate did make some changes, meaning the bill will now have to be approved by the House again before Governor John Kasich can sign it or veto.
The Senate removed the mandate for transvaginal ultrasounds, which can pick up a heartbeat as early as six weeks, and instead merely requires abdominal ultrasounds, which some see as less invasive for women. “We found that (a transvaginal ultrasound) process is possibly intrusive and we wanted to protect the rights of women who didn’t wish to have that done to them,” Senate Health Committee Chairman Dave Burke said.
According to the Dayton Daily News, one study has found that abdominal ultrasounds can detect a heartbeat as early as seven weeks.
The Senate also moved to add that abortionists who violate the law could potentially have their licenses to practice medicine be suspended by the State Medical Board of Ohio, without first requiring a criminal conviction.
Previously, Governor Kasich vetoed a heartbeat bill that passed through the state legislature, and has promised to do so again. His successor, Mike DeWine, has said that he would sign it, however, meaning there are several options. With 60 votes, the Senate could overturn a veto from Kasich, or lawmakers could try to delay voting on the new version of the bill until the new year, when DeWine is sworn in as governor and Kasich has left office.
Despite the decision from Kasich to veto the previous version of the bill, Ohio has become one of the most pro-life states in the country, banning abortions for a diagnosis of Down syndrome and banning abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy.