Lawmakers in Ohio passed legislation this Tuesday that would ban abortions when a fetal heartbeat was detected. This is one of the strictest abortion measures in the country.
This can be as early as six weeks into a pregnancy and there are no exceptions in the bill, including for rape or incest cases.
The legislation bans the procedure before most women even realize that they are pregnant.
This was added to a somewhat unrelated child abuse bill last minute as Republicans saw an opportunity with Donald Trump’s election and the presumption that he will be appointing conservative Supreme Court justices.
However, Republican Gov. John Kasich still has 10 days to decide if he will be vetoing the legislation. The bill will only become a law if he signs it or does nothing within the 10-day period.
The bill had been introduced prior, but was not passed by the Senate.
“One, a new President, new Supreme Court justice appointees change the dynamic, and that there was a consensus in our caucus to move forward,” said Keith Faber, a Ohio Senate president and republican from Celina to reporters.
Kaber is confident that it will survive a legal challenge. “I think it has a better chance than it did before,” said Kaber.
The American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio is already ready to legally challenge the law.
Sen. Kris Jordan, a Republican from Ostrander, called for the amendment to be added to the child abuse bill.
“We are a pro-life caucus…,” said Jordan in a statement. “The passage of this legislation in the Ohio Senate demonstrates our commitment to protecting the children of Ohio at every stage of life.”
The Senate first approved 20-11 the decision to include the “Heartbeat Bill” and then passed the entire bill 21-10.
Once the the “Heartbeat bill” amendment was added, a few no longer approved of the new measure and decided to vote against it.
Democrat Sen. Charleta Tavares disapproved of the last-minute inclusion.
“I believe everyone has a right to their own body,” said Tavares to CNN. “We allowed a good bill that protects the health and safety of our children to be bastardized into a government takeover of women’s wombs.
However, the revised bill passed 56-39 on Tuesday evening.
So will Kasich veto the bill?
Earlier in the year, Kasich said that he was “pro-life with the exceptions of rape, incest and the life of the mother” to CNN.
Ohio is leading the way with this heartbeat bill.
“Lower courts have struck down similar “heartbeat” laws in North Dakota and Arkansas and the Supreme Court refused to hear appeals on those rulings in January,” writes Reuters.
“But now, with Republican President-elect Donald Trump having the opportunity to fill at least one Supreme Court vacancy, conservatives in Ohio hope that the legislation can withstand a challenge in court.”
Author’s note: This is a major shift in momentum and even if it is challenged in court, it isn’t likely to be derailed by the Democrats because conservatives will control the Supreme Court for the foreseeable future.