Ohio Senate Fails to Override Outgoing Gov. Kasich’s ‘Heartbeat Bill’ Veto

Ohio state Republican legislators were unable to override Gov. John Kasich’s (R-OH) veto of the “heartbeat” abortion bill Thursday.

House Bill 258 (HB 258), first introduced on June 6, 2017, would have made it illegal for a doctor to perform an abortion once a fetal heartbeat is detected. In most pregnancies, the heartbeat begins at three weeks but, with current technology, can only be reliably detected at six weeks. This would have made the bill one of the most comprehensive abortion limitations in the country.

Kasich vetoed the bill on December 22, citing a high probability that it would be ruled unconstitutional and Ohioans would be left to pay the legal costs. Many Republican lawmakers disagreed and welcomed a court challenge. This was the second time Gov. Kasich has vetoed the bill.

While the Ohio House was able to pass the override measure by a vote of 61-28, the Ohio Senate vote came up short at 19-13, one vote shy of passage. State Sen. Bill Beagle (R-Tipp City) cast the deciding vote that led to the override failure. Beagle did vote to initially advance the bill out of committee and voted for its passage when it came to the floor.

Following the vote, Beagle stated that he voted against the override because:

There should be a standard. There’s a standard for a bill to pass, and I think that there’s a higher standard for it to be overridden if it’s vetoed, and in looking at House Bill 258 I just didn’t think it met the standard…Especially when you’ve got a Governor-Elect who’s considering signing a bill in the next General Assembly.

Ohio Republicans also sought to override Kasich’s veto on two additional bills.

The first, Senate Bill 256 (SB 256), was a pay raise for legislators and elected officials attached to an increase of death benefits for the surviving family members of first responders.

The second, House Bill 228 (HB 228), was aimed and increasing the rights of gun owners in cases of self-defense. Both of these bills were successfully overridden.

While many pro-abortion groups have celebrated the failed veto override, Republicans remain optimistic regarding the bill’s future.

Incoming Gov.-elect Mike DeWine (R-OH) has expressed a willingness to sign the bill, should it come to his desk. Should this occur, the bill would be immediately challenged and, in all probability, end up before the Supreme Court.

The Ohio Right to Life organization, which remained neutral on the bill is now advocating for its passage, stating that “with the additions of Justices Gorsuch and Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court we believe this is the most pro-life court we have seen in generations.”

“Now is the time to pursue this approach.”

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Andrew Shirley is a reporter at Battleground State News and The Ohio Star. Send tips to [email protected].
Photo “John Kasich” by Gage Skidmore. CC BY-SA 2.0.
Background Photo “Human Fetus” by Suparna Sinha. CC BY-SA 2.0.






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