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OH governor signs heartbeat bill

14 April 2019

That makes OH the sixth state in the nation to attempt to outlaw abortions at the point 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. John Kasich, vetoed similar legislation in 2016.

"The essential function of government is to protect the most vulnerable among us, those who don't have a voice", DeWine said as he signed the bill. Texas is pushing a bill that would criminalize all abortions, with no exceptions for rape or incest, making it possible to charge a woman with homicide for having the procedure.

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Similar laws in Kentucky and Iowa have been struck down by federal courts, but anti-abortion groups such as Ohio Right To Life are not dissuaded.

About 24 hours after the Ohio Legislature passed the abortion ban, DeWine signed it.

Even before the bill was signed, the American Civil Liberties Union of OH reportedly said it was preparing a suit to challenge to the law, something DeWine and OH pro-life advocates anticipated.

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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. Iris Harvey, the chief executive officer and president of Planned Parenthood of Greater Ohio, has made it clear that she is willing to take the bill to the Supreme Court if necessary. "And we've talked a lot about the 95% of the time that we are going to agree, maybe not on the direction, maybe not what we want to do as a state but 95% of the time, we are going to be out there working on things know jobs packages, education issues....things like that....and the 5% that are issues that are volatile issues that Republicans and Democrats traditionally don't agree upon, we can't dwell on those issues", Householder said.

Schneller said she is skeptical the reconfigured court will overturn or weaken Roe, as abortion foes are hoping: "Over 45 years, the court has had different compositions, and we've always gotten the same answer".

There is an exception for medical emergencies that place the prospective mother's life in danger.

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The Ohio House April 10 voted 56-40 in favor of the bill. That can come as early as five or six weeks into pregnancy, before many women know they're pregnant. Florida legislators also are considering a heartbeat bill. "Trigger bans" would automatically make abortion illegal if Roe vs. Wade is overturned, "method bans" keep providers from performing a specific type of abortion; "reason bans" prohibit abortion based on fetal characteristics, such as sex, race or disability status; and "gestational age bans", prohibit abortions at a specific point in pregnancy, such as six, 18 or 20 weeks after the last menstrual period.

OH governor signs heartbeat bill