Heartbeat Bill back in front of lawmakers, less than year after Kasich’s veto

Even Ohio Right to Life has opposed the anti-abortion bill

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COLUMBUS, Ohio (WKBN) – If, at first, you don’t succeed, try again.

That phrase is all too apropos to the effort to secure anti-abortion legislation referred to as the Heartbeat Bill.

For years, some lawmakers have pushed the bill that would prohibit abortions after six weeks, around the time a heartbeat can be detected.

In 2012, the bill made it out of the House of Representatives but went nowhere in the Senate.

In 2014, the bill failed to even get out of the House, going down in defeat, 47-40.

In 2016, the bill went all the way to Governor John Kasich’s desk before he vetoed it, stating he did so in the best interest of the people of Ohio.

Even Ohio Right to Life has opposed the anti-abortion bill. When Kasich vetoed the measure in 2016, president of the organization Mike Gonidakis agreed with the governor that the bill would fail to stand up to legal challenges.

This seemingly strange diversion of support is highlighted when other measures, like a bill to prohibit abortions once a diagnosis of Downs Syndrome is made, pass easily.

The real issue is the combination of several factors: the constitutionality of the anti-abortion legislation, the current makeup of the U.S. Supreme Court and how much a challenge could impact the movement.

Until the court has enough justices to overturn Roe v. Wade, anti-abortion legislation is being handled in a slow, methodical way.

In 2011, Ohio made it illegal to abort a viable fetus after 20 weeks, with exceptions to protect the life and health of the mother. You could get an abortion after 20 weeks if a test showed the fetus was not viable.

Last year, that was taken away. At the same time Kasich vetoed the Heartbeat Bill, he signed a bill that made it illegal to get an abortion after 20 weeks. The same exceptions to protect the life and health of the mother still apply.

It took five years for the legislature to remove the test for viability.

The Heartbeat Bill may be trying to do too much too quickly. Some fear the legal challenges it could bring up may risk wiping out the gains the pro-life movement has been able to make so far.

The current version of the Heartbeat Bill has a long way to go this session, which is nearly half-finished.

Wednesday, the bill received its second hearing in its House Committee. It will still need to go through at least one more hearing for the opposition and potentially more before a vote could be held to send it to the House floor for a vote.

If it does pass the House, it would then have to get through the Senate.

If the Senate Committee takes as long as the House Committee did to get the hearings done, it could be a whirlwind race with just a few weeks left to get it passed out of the Chamber.

If all of that happens, it would still have to be signed by Governor Kasich who, again, already vetoed it once before.


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