Ohio's Abortion 'Heartbeat Bill' Now on John Kasich's Desk

Bill would ban abortions after fetal heartbeat is detected if governor signs it
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 7, 2016 11:17 AM CST
Ohio a Step Away From Having US' Toughest Abortion Laws
In this Aug. 25, 2016, file photo, Ohio Gov. John Kasich speaks in Cincinnati.   (AP Photo/John Minchillo, File)

Gov. John Kasich has a new bill on his desk, and if he signs it, Ohio will have the toughest abortion laws in the US, USA Today reports. The "heartbeat bill," which bans abortions after a fetal heartbeat is found (sometimes as early as six weeks), doesn't allow for rape or incest exceptions, though abortions to save the mother's life are OK. Per Cleveland.com, the bill was unexpectedly shoehorned Tuesday into child abuse and child neglect legislation, with Kasich able to veto just that item or refuse the entire deal. Ohio Republicans, including Kasich, had previously balked at such a bill, feeling it wouldn't stand up to constitutional challenges—Roe v. Wade makes it illegal for states to ban abortions before a fetus is viable—but some feel empowered by the coming Trump presidency and a future Trump Supreme Court pick. "[Trump has] changed the dynamic," GOP state Senate President Keith Faber told reporters, per Cleveland.com.

Not surprisingly, abortion rights supporters are speaking out against the development, including Democratic Rep. Teresa Fedor, who last year spoke about her rape and abortion. "You might as well call me a baby killer," she says, per USA Today. Others take issue with the bill's 11th-hour passage. "To slip it in at the last minute where there's ... no opportunity for people to really voice their opinion says we can't trust our legislators," Iris Harvey, CEO of Planned Parenthood of Greater Ohio, tells Cleveland.com. One GOPer still not sure this bill is the way to go is Ohio Right to Life President Mike Gonidakis. "Everyone is swept up in Trumpmania, but let's be realistic," he tells USA Today. He'd prefer a ban on abortions after 20 weeks' gestation, a bill Kasich could approve instead of this one when and if such a bill ever makes its way to him. (In Texas, fetal remains must be cremated or buried.)

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