Ohio Republicans Not So Sure on Bill to Ban Abortion at First Heartbeat
Democrat Rep. Michael Curtin said during the debate that House members had heard expert testimony of cases in which fetuses were “not viable” after six weeks for a variety of medical reasons.
He argued the Heartbeat Bill was “profound legislation,” which would be an abuse of power if approved.
“This proposed law would use the strong arm of the state, the strong arm of government to force a woman to carry a non-viable fetus to term,” he said.
However, the most emotional objection to HB 69, which supporters say would stop 90 percent of all abortions in Ohio, came from Rep. Teresa Fedor (D).
She told her fellow lawmakers of being sexually assaulted, becoming pregnant and then undergoing an abortion.
“You don’t respect my reason, my rape, my abortion, and I guarantee you there are other women who should stand up with me and be courageous enough to speak that voice,” Fedor said on the floor of the House.
“What you’re doing is so fundamentally inhuman, unconstitutional, and I’ve sat here too long. I dare any one of you to judge me. I dare you to walk in my shoes.”
The Columbus Dispatch reported even Ohio Right to Life leaders have spoken out against the legislation because of fears pro-choice forces could use it to go before a federal judge and argue for a reversal of all abortion restrictions in Ohio.
Gov. Kasich shares Right to Life’s concerns about the possibility of litigation.
“But it’s a long way to Tipperary,” Kasich told the Columbus Dispatch. “The House is not the Senate and it’s not through, so I like not to comment too much on pending legislation.”
The Heartbeat Bill is not the only legislation before the Ohio Legislature that would add new restrictions on abortions.
Right to Life’s premier legislation for 2015 known as the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act was also introduced in the Ohio Legislature in March.
"The Hippocratic oath says, first do no harm," said Rep. Kristina Roegner (R), who sponsored HB 117 with her fellow Republican Rep. Bob Cupp.
"I would think everyone could agree to err on the side of caution, in light of the overwhelming scientific evidence, when it comes to the question of whether a five-month pre-born baby can feel pain."
This is legislation Right to Life not only backs, it is legislation Right to Life drafted.
Pain-Capable legislation was introduced in the Ohio House and Senate in March with 33 lawmakers co-sponsoring the companion proposals, HB 117 and SB 127.
"The outpouring of support that we have received for this legislation goes to show that Ohio is ready and eager to catch up with the rest of the developed world by affirming the humanity of the unborn," said Stephanie Ranade-Krider, executive director of Ohio Right to Life.
"We are hopeful that with this legislation we will be able to welcome more and more voices into our movement, showing that the right to life really is a bipartisan issue that everyone has a stake in."