By a vote of 19-13, the Ohio Senate has once again passed a “heartbeat bill” banning abortion after a detectable heartbeat in the first trimester, possibly as early as six weeks. The bill will now move on to the House. And this time, the governor of the state has said that if it passes, he will sign it. Governor Mike DeWine, the state’s former attorney general, replaced Governor John Kasich, who twice vetoed heartbeat bills passed by the Legislature. The second time, the Legislature failed to override his veto by just one vote.
FOX News writes:
The bill’s sponsor, State Sen. Kristina Roegner, said using the existence of a fetal heartbeat as the defining line is clearer than determining the fate of a fetus based on its growth outside the womb, a marker established in court precedent. Roegner said viability can vary depending on the technology available and the medical care.
“[Viability] is a moving target, and we need a new standard,” she said. “The heartbeat bill provides a sensible solution.”
The bill, writes FOX, “includes an exemption if a mother’s life is at risk” but none for rape or incest.
Bill supporters expect court challenges, as similar bills from other states have been struck down by courts. CleveScene.com notes:
Courts have struck down similar heartbeat laws in other states, including North Dakota and Iowa, as recently as last month. Federal courts have declared the laws violate the constitution under Roe v. Wade….
Supporters of the law say it could be part of a wave of legislation that succeeds before the Supreme Court, with its two new conservative additions.
“Ultimately, this will work its way up to the United States Supreme Court,” DeWine told conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt in January. “And they’ll make that decision.”
Opponents of the law, such as NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio, believe that the heartbeat bill would essentially outlaw abortion in Ohio, and possibly cause neighboring states with less stringent abortion laws to be unable to handle the influx of women seeking abortions.
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