Governor Kasich Signed a 20 Week Abortion Ban Into Law
Governor John Kasich signed a 20 week abortion ban into law Tuesday, challenging Supreme Court precedent, which guarantees the right to an abortion until the fetus is viable (about 24 weeks). The bill’s passing accompanied the line-item veto of the Heartbeat Bill, which was tacked onto House Bill 493, legislation originally addressing child abuse and neglect claims.
The bill’s signing follows days of demonstrations, marches and protests citing the self-induced abortion tactic of using coat hangers during the procedure’s criminalization. Over 37,000 emails were sent to the governor’s office in opposition to the bill’s passing, but by February, the 20 week ban will become law.
Opponents of the bill call it costly and cruel, reserving the constitutional right to an abortion to those who can afford to cross state lines.
“Abortion is an economic issue, plain and simple,” said Kellie Copeland, NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio Executive Director. “By removing access to health care, including safe and legal abortion, Kasich would be taking money out of women’s pockets. John Kasich and Donald Trump both expect women needing an abortion to pay to go to other states.”
Abortions after 20 weeks are rare, only accounting for one percent of all abortions. Last year, out of the more than 20,000 Ohio abortions, 145 were late term. Most happen before nine weeks, but those that happen in the third trimester are usually the result of a severely debilitating or fatal illness discovered in the mother or fetus. For those in that situation, opponents of the 20 week ban are still weary. The bill makes no exceptions for women who are pregnant as a result of rape or incest, and the flexibility offered when considering the mother’s life is limited.
“The bill’s life of the woman exception is too narrow to apply, only allowing a procedure once a woman is on the brink of death or permanent organ damage,” said a press release from NARAL Pro-Choice.
This will be the 18th restriction on abortion access that Kasich has enacted in the last five years. Ohio Democrats released a statement relating the action to the words of President-elect Donald Trump.
“There is no exception for a woman who has been raped or been the victim of incest,” said ODP Chairman David Pepper. “This is not moderate. This is not compassionate. Donald Trump said ‘there has to be some form of punishment’ for a woman who has an abortion. Today Kasich put Trump’s vision into law.”
It’s not clear whether ACLU will take the issue to the courts. A week ago, ACLU of Ohio tweeted that if the Heartbeat Bill was signed into law, they’d sue. No comments were made about the 20 week ban. The bill is set to become law in 90 days.