Ohio House approves ban on abortions after heartbeat
June 29, 2011
The Ohio House of Representatives voted 54 to 43 this week to ban abortions after a fetal heartbeat is detectable, which is usually around 6 or 7 weeks, Reuters reports. The bill does not include exceptions for rape, incest, or the mother's health, making it perhaps the most restrictive abortion legislation to pass a U.S. house of law in recent memory.
The good news for now is that Ohio's Republican-heavy Senate will reportedly not vote on the issue until the fall, allowing time for defenders of women's reproductive rights to organize opposition. Furthermore, even if passed by the Senate and signed by Republican Gov. John Kasich, the legislation would face an immediate legal challenge and uphill legal battle. The Supreme Court ruled in the 1973 case Roe v. Wade that a woman has a right to an abortion until the fetus is viable outside the womb, usually between 22 and 24 weeks.
Proponents of the measure actually welcome a legal challenge, in hopes that courts will decide in their favor. Yet even the pro-life lobby group Ohio Right to Life opposes the so-called "heartbeat bill" on the grounds that the courts would almost certainly strike down the bill, and that defending it would cost hundreds of thousands of taxpayer's dollars.
The Center for Inquiry's Office of Public Policy will continue to track this issue and keep you informed about any movement.