'Heartbeat Bill' Abortion Ban Heads for Governor Kasich's Desk After Ohio Senate and House Passage

click to enlarge 'Heartbeat Bill' Abortion Ban Heads for Governor Kasich's Desk After Ohio Senate and House Passage
Ohio Senator Kris Jordan, who introduced the heartbeat bill amendment
The Ohio House last night passed the child neglect bill that carried an unexpected "Heartbeat Bill" amendment added earlier in the day by the Ohio Senate.

The House vote went mainly down party lines, 56-39.

It's now up to Gov. John Kasich what happens next. The law, which would ban abortions after a detectable heartbeat (usually five to six weeks into a pregnancy), would be among the strictest in the nation but almost certainly would meet a challenge from the federal courts. (Federal courts quashed similar bills in North Dakota and Arkansas. The U.S. Supreme Court didn't even bother to hear the states' appeals in those cases.)

Senate President Keith Faber, however, directly connected the passage of HB 493 (and his own flip-flop on the matter) to President-elect Donald Trump and his inevitable U.S. Supreme Court appointments.

Kasich, back in 2014, had said he had concerns about the legality of heartbeat bills but stopped short of saying that he'd veto such a bill.

Original story:

In a move that could severely restrict women’s access to abortion across the state of Ohio, the Ohio Senate this afternoon passed a “Heartbeat Bill” amendment, which was tacked onto an unrelated bill on child abuse and neglect. It passed the GOP-heavy Senate side by a 21 to 10 vote after Republicans made the unexpected addition on the second last day of the session.

The bill would ban abortions once a heartbeat is detected — usually around the 6 week mark of a pregnancy, sometimes before a woman even knows she’s pregnant. The bill makes no exceptions for cases of rape or incest.

The child neglect bill with the Heartbeat amendment now returns to the Ohio House for approval, which has previously passed iterations of the Heartbeat Bill in years past. If/when it passes there it'd head to Governor Kasich to be signed into law. Kasich has previously said he has concerns about the legality of the bill but stopped short of saying he'd veto it when asked in 2014. A separate bill banning abortion after 20 weeks could also head to his desk.

Opponents of the bill point out that it is simply unconstitutional given previous decisions by the Supreme Court and federal courts in North Dakota and Arkansas. Minority Senate Leader Joe Schivaoni, a Democrat from Boardman, said that, “This will be ruled unconstitutional. Other states have tried this, and the Supreme Courts in two other states have found this to be unconstitutional.”

Senator Capri Cafaro (D) of Hubbard added, “It is not government’s place to make these decisions for women. There is a time and place for government. This is not one of them.”

Senate President Keith Faber (R) himself opposes the bill, also believing that it will be struck down in court and could eventually backfire. Despite pressure from proponents who have protested in his district, he’s previously said the bill could “produce the opposite of its intended outcome,” and that “the courts likely would strike it down and could then use the case to establish a new, more expansive abortion precedent, resulting in even more babies being aborted."

The bill would surely end up the center of a court fight. That much Faber is right about. Though supporters argue that a court fight is exactly the path needed to get this or a similar case in front of the Supreme Court to overturn Roe V. Wade.

The amendment was introduced by Senator Kris Jordan of Ostander. “This is just flat out the right thing to do,” he said. “It affords the most important liberty of all - the opportunity to live.”

Jordan's second favorite liberty is apparently making healthcare and reproductive rights decisions on behalf of women.

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