Heartbeat Bill Passes House, Awaits DeWine’s Signature
Ohio’s latest version of the “Heartbeat Bill” is headed to the desk of Gov. Mike DeWine, who’s previously voiced his support for the measure. With more restrictions added by the Ohio Senate last week, the bill (SB 23) was sent to the Ohio House on Wednesday, where it passed 56-40.
SB 23 would ban abortion at the detection of a fetal heartbeat, which can be as early as six weeks into a person’s pregnancy. To obtain an abortion prior to the detection of a fetal heartbeat, the pregnant person would need to be aware of their pregnancy before or shortly after missing their first period.
SB 23 grants no exceptions in cases of rape or incest, and recently added a statute that would encourage the use of a transvaginal ultrasound, which can often detect a fetal heartbeat sooner. Doctors who provide an abortion after a fetal heartbeat is detected face felony charges and a $10,000 fine.
“The passage of this six-week ban on safe, legal, accessible, and affordable abortion is not the will of the majority. It is the act of the minority which abused their authority to gerrymander Ohio’s legislative districts to give them the power to force their out-of-touch ideology on our state,” says Kellie Copeland, NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio Executive Director, in a press release. “We will work day and night to upend this attack on democracy to ensure that Ohio will once again have fair elections that result in elected officials that share our values and support reproductive freedom.”
SB 23, the third “Heartbeat Bill” to be proposed in as many years, is part of a larger scheme to get the abortion debate back in front of the Supreme Court and overturn Roe v. Wade, says Created Equal President Mark Harrington.
“With the changing composition of the Supreme Court, there could soon be enough justices to overturn Roe v. Wade which would return the abortion issue back where it belongs to the state legislatures,” Harrington said in a press release. “This is another reason to act now. We are so proud that our Ohio legislators did the right thing and finally passed the Heartbeat Bill!”
Once DeWine signs SB 23, Ohio will be the fifth state to ban abortion without exceptions for rape or incest, and with the threat of felony charges for abortion providers. The bill won’t immediately become law; a 90-day grace period allows time for it to face legal challenges.
“The State of Ohio is already in court, wasting taxpayer dollars to fight several costly lawsuits against other dangerous and unconstitutional abortion bans. Why continue to pursue this extreme ideological crusade when Ohio is in the midst of a public health crisis?” says Iris Harvey, Planned Parenthood Advocates of Ohio President & CEO, in a press release. “Addressing Ohio’s rampant infant and maternal mortality rates and creating equitable access to health care is what they should be focusing on.”
For more information, view the bill here.