The Republican-led Ohio Senate passed the so-called ‘heartbeat’ bill Wednesday that would ban abortions once a fetal heartbeat is detected, which can be as early as six weeks into pregnancy.
It would be among the most restrictive abortion measures in the country. Critics of the bill claim many women do not know they are pregnant at the six-week mark.
The 19-13 vote sends Senate Bill 23 to the Republican-controlled House. GOP Gov. Mike DeWine has indicated he’d sign the ban into law.
The bill’s sponsor, State Sen. Kristina Roegner, said using the existence of a fetal heartbeat as the defining line is clearer than determining the fate of a fetus based on its growth outside the womb, a marker established in court precedent. Roegner said viability can vary depending on the technology available and the medical care.
“[Viability] is a moving target, and we need a new standard,” she said. “The heartbeat bill provides a sensible solution.”
‘HEARTBEAT’ BILLS GAINING MOMENTUM IN SEVERAL STATES, INCLUDING KENTUCKY AND MISSISSIPPI
Similar measures approved by lawmakers were vetoed twice before by DeWine’s predecessor, Republican John Kasich. He said such a law would create a costly court battle and likely be found unconstitutional.
OHIO’S NEW GOVERNOR SAYS HE’LL SIGN ‘HEARTBEAT’ ABORTION BILL THAT KASICH VETOED
In its current form, the bill includes an exemption if a mother’s life is at risk. Critics say it provides no exemptions for victims of rape or incense.
The legislation’s passage in the Senate continued a celebratory week for abortion opponents in Ohio, where a divided federal appeals court upheld a state law Tuesday that blocked public money for Planned Parenthood
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A handful of other states are considering legislation to restrict abortions once a fetal heartbeat can be detected.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.