The Ohio General Assembly has passed the most restrictive abortion legislation in America. It now rests on Governor John Kasich’s desk for him to sign or veto the controversial bill.
If he signs, the “heartbeat” bill will prohibit abortions once a fetus’ heartbeat can be detected, which is typically at six weeks gestation, but could be discernable as early as 22 days after conception.
Ohio legislators have tried to pass this law for years but it has never passed both chambers until now. Republican Keith Faber, president of the Ohio Senate said the election of Donald Trump, who promises to appoint Supreme Court justices sympathetic to their cause, paved the way for the extreme measure.
“A new president, new Supreme Court appointees change the dynamic, and there was consensus in our caucus to move forward,” said Faber.
The heartbeat bill was attached to House Bill 493 which addresses child abuse. Dissenters argue there are no exceptions for rape or incest, and many women may not realize they are pregnant until after a heartbeat can be discerned. There is, however, exception provided for the safety of the mother.
Life News writes that even if the measure is made law, the likelihood is high that it will be struck down in court, as was the case in both Arkansas and North Dakota. “The American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio already has said it would press a legal challenge,” confirms CNN.
However, Republican lawmakers in Ohio hope new representatives in the Supreme Court will turn the tide. If the law sticks, physicians who perform abortions after the heartbeat can be identified, will face charges of up to a year in prison.
Ohio has placed milder restrictions on abortion for years. The result has led to almost half of abortion clinics closing down, according to NPR. If passed into law, the heartbeat bill could effectively wipe out abortion in the state, or at least severely limit its practice.