Gov. Mike DeWine signed Ohio’s heartbeat bill into law Thursday afternoon, and advocacy groups and legal teams nationwide are all preparing for what is sure to be a major political and legal battle.
For the third time in the last decade, a bill that would ban all abortions after a fetal heartbeat can be detected officially made its way to the Ohio governor’s desk. Senate Bill 23 (SB 23) would ban any abortion once a fetal heartbeat can be detected. Though this varies based on available medical technology, it is generally agreed to be around the six to the nine-week mark. Hence, many consider it a six-week abortion limit.
“The essential function of government is to protect the most vulnerable among us, those who don’t have a voice,” DeWine said while signing the bill. “Government’s role should be to protect life from beginning to end.”
Past versions of the bill were both vetoed by former Gov. John Kasich, who stated that he agreed with it in principle but felt that “the state of Ohio will be the losing party in that lawsuit and…will be forced to pay hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars to cover the legal fees for the pro-choice activists’ lawyers.”
This time, DeWine pledged on multiple occasions to sign to sign the bill, and he did just that on Thursday afternoon.
Though an almost identical bill was recently passed in Georgia, the governor has yet to sign it. In signing the the bill, Ohio has become the sixth state to pass such a measure while 16 other states are working on doing the same.
The heartbeat bill is considered to be a “Roe v. Wade killer.” It cannot be upheld without overturning Roe, and vice versa. The overwhelming consensus from experts is that this bill will end up in front of the Supreme Court. Affirming this strategy in a press release, Stephanie Ranade Krider, vice president and executive director of Ohio Right to Life, stated: “With the composition of the Supreme Court being as favorable as it is today, we see good things on the horizon as it regards the Heartbeat Bill.”
Planned Parenthood,wasted no time in blasting the bill and committing to fight it in the courts. The abortion giant released the following statement:
Ohio’s six-week ban is a dangerous policy designed to block abortion access before many women even know they’re pregnant. This is yet another attack we are seeing on the health and well-being of the residents of Ohio. Just two weeks ago, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a law that bans Planned Parenthood from programs that provide life-saving services including STD and HIV tests, breast and cervical cancer screenings, and domestic violence education, as well as the Healthy Moms, Healthy Babies program aimed at reducing maternal and infant mortality. These actions will roll back gains to public health and harm women’s health and the health of families across Ohio. Planned Parenthood will not back down from this fight. Our patients in Ohio and across the country deserve the right to control their own body, life, and future, no matter where they live or how much money they make.
Planned Parenthood’s state and local offices in Ohio released similar statements, while the state’s chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) vowed to join the fight.
“This legislation is blatantly unconstitutional and we will fight to the bitter end to ensure that this bill is permanently blocked,” the group said in a statement.
As states like Ohio consider these abortion limits, other stated are moving in the opposite direction. Virginia, for instance, is currently considering House Bill 2491, a measure that would remove many requirements necessary for a second-trimester abortion and lower the standards by which a third-trimester abortion can occur. Under its new provisions, should a doctor and the mother decide that having a child would be damaging to a woman’s mental health, “even if the damage might not be irreversible,” an abortion would be permitted in the third-trimester.
In defense of the bill, Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam stated on a radio show that “the infant would be resuscitated if that’s what the mother and the family desired, and then a discussion would ensue between the physicians and the mother” in the event a child survives a botched abortion.
While he attempted to clarify these comments as only applying to a child born with severe abnormalities, the comment caused widespread condemnation. New York, however, has passed a similar law.
Read more coverage from The Ohio Star on Ohio’s heartbeat bill here.
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