A Bill Banning Most Abortions Becomes Law In Ohio

Clay Curtis
April 14, 2019

OH became the sixth state in the nation on Thursday to outlaw abortion from the time when a fetal heartbeat can be detected.

Mike DeWine signed a bill into law Thursday that bans abortion when an unborn baby's heartbeat is detected, although he acknowledged legal challenges will decide its fate.

Similar bills had been proposed in OH in the past, but the state's last Republican governor, John Kasich, vetoed those saying that they were unconstitutional.

'It is our duty, I believe, and an essential function of government, to protect those who can not protect themselves'. "Government's rule should be to protect life from the beginning to the end, to protect those who can not protect themselves". The law includes a provision allowing abortions to save the life of the mother, but it does not allow abortions in the case of rape or incest.

Similar bills passed in Kentucky and Iowa have been struck down as unconstitutional by federal judges.

"Heartbeat" bills have passed the legislature in Missouri, Ohio, and Tennessee and have been introduced in Florida, Illinois, Louisiana, Maryland, Minnesota, New York, Georgia, South Carolina, and West Virginia.

Even before the bill was signed, the ACLU of OH said it was preparing a constitutional challenge to the law on behalf of Pre-Term Cleveland and three other OH abortion clinics.

Critics of the law say the six-week cutoff occurs before many women know they're pregnant.

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"Taking this action really is a kind of a time-honored tradition, the constitutional tradition of making a good faith argument for modification or reversal of existing legal precedents", DeWine said.

While no six-week ban has actually gone into effect, abortion advocates claim lawmakers push for "radical abortion bans" as "part of a deliberate strategy" to get legal challenges that could take an abortion case to the Supreme Court, as Elizabeth Nash, the senior state issues manager at the Guttmacher Institute, said on a conference call with reporters in late March.

In Georgia, where Kemp is expected to sign the heartbeat bill soon, more than 50 actors, including Alyssa Milano, Alec Baldwin and Amy Schumer, have threatened a campaign to pull Hollywood productions out of Georgia - a hub for TV and movie projects - if the ban is enacted.

The group plans to sue on behalf of Pre-Term Cleveland, Planned Parenthood of Greater Ohio, Planned Parenthood of Southwest Ohio and the Women's Med Center of Dayton. The Ohio Senate subsequently failed to override the governor's veto, and the bill did not pass.

If a heartbeat is detected and the doctor still performs an abortion then he or she can be charged with a felony.

The Ohio House had voted 56-40 and the Senate 18-13 on Wednesday to send Senate Bill 23 to Gov. DeWine's desk.

Some anti-abortion groups have declined to endorse the heartbeat bills, signaling doubts about their prospects.

OH has passed a law making it illegal to procure an abortion after six weeks gestation.

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