Ohio Republicans Not So Sure on Bill to Ban Abortion at First Heartbeat

Prospects for Ohio legislation that could outlaw abortions after six weeks of pregnancy do not look good in the Ohio Senate and even gloomier should the bill wind up on Republican Gov. John Kasich’s desk.

Even for the emotional topic of abortion, this debate turned unusually white hot in March. It has roiled Ohio politics, pushing Republicans, who can usually be counted on to vote pro-life, to the side of Democrats, albeit for reasons of pragmatism rather than theology or philosophy.

It also pushed a Democrat to take to the Ohio House floor to tell, for the first time ever, the story of being raped, impregnated by her attacker, and deciding to abort the baby that was growing inside her womb.

House Bill 69, also known as the “Heartbeat Bill,” was approved by the Ohio House in late March. Sponsored by Rep. Christina Hagan (R) and Rep. Ron Hood (R), the legislation seeks to prevent the abortions of Ohio babies beginning with their first detectable heartbeat.

A fetal heartbeat could be audible at or soon after six weeks.

“As Ohio continues to lead in many areas, ultimately aiming to improve the quality of life for Ohioans in any way we can, we have also worked diligently to defend the lives of the unborn,” said Hagan. “Needless to say, this is an issue that is robust with passion, compassion and the potential to save many lives of the unborn.”

HB 69 generally prohibits a person from knowingly and purposefully performing or inducing an abortion with the specific intent of causing the termination of life of an unborn child whose fetal heartbeat has been detected, making this offense a fifth-degree felony.

“Someone has to speak on behalf of the more than 57 million unborn US children who have been legally killed since 1973, and the millions more who will die if elected leaders don’t stand in the gap for them,” said Hood. “It is my prayer that this bill will encourage the culture of life to continue to grow.”

The legislation would create a Joint Legislative Committee on Adoption Promotion and Support, composed of three House and three Senate members, to help encourage adoption in the cases of unwanted pregnancies.

However, HB 69 might not even get a hearing in the Ohio Senate.

Both Gov. Kasich and Senate President Keith Faber (R) have expressed concerns over whether the bill would even be constitutional.