The Ohio General Assembly passed the controversial Heartbeat Bill last Tuesday. The bill makes abortion illegal once doctors can detect a heartbeat in a fetus. Lower courts have previously struck down similar laws in North Dakota and Arkansas. A heartbeat is usually present at around 6 weeks of pregnancy. The bill still requires the signature of former Republican presidential candidate and current Ohio Governor John Kasich.
The Heartbeat Bill drew criticism from the fact that it also outlaws abortions even in cases of incest or rape. The Bill faced toughed challenges in the past as it was shot down over concerns that such as bill would be deemed unconstitutional. Ohio Senate President Keith Faber shared his opinion on how they managed to successfully pass the bill:
“A new president, new Supreme Court appointees change the dynamic, and there was consensus in our caucus to move forward… I think it has a better chance than it did before.”
Ohio Senate President Keith Faber
The Senate passed the bill last Tuesday with a 56-39 vote. The new law would classify abortions as a fifth-degree felony and would require physicians to check for a heartbeat prior to performing any operations on their clients. Failure to do so or proceeding with abortion despite the presence of a heartbeat will be punishable with up to one year in prison. Doctors could also face civil lawsuits from their patients, as well as further disciplinary action.
“This bill — which was tacked on as a last-minute amendment to a child abuse prevention bill — makes no exceptions for rape or incest victims. It is cruel and plainly unconstitutional — but it seems like Ohio Republicans don’t care about the Constitution. Trump’s vision for America is already alive and well in the Buckeye State.”
Columbus Dispatch, Ohio Democratic Women’s Caucus Chair Kathy DiCristofaro