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Gov. Kasich, the Lives of Millions of Babies Are in Your Hands with the Heartbeat Bill. How Will You Choose?

The lives of millions of babies — tens of thousands every year — are in the hands of Ohio Gov. John Kasich, who will see the heartbeat bill land on his desk in the next few days. The time has come for the avowedly pro-life governor to put his money where his mouth is by signing it into law to protect the most vulnerable among us. Opportunities to save the lives of millions of children don't come along very often, but Kasich is in a position to rescue a whole generation of future Ohioans with the stroke of his executive pen — to be a modern-day Oskar Schindler, rescuing the perishing when it is within his power to do so. If he chooses poorly and sides with the abortion death cult, it will forever leave a blood-stained blemish on his record — both in this life and the next.

The Ohio Senate on Wednesday voted 18-13 to approve the heartbeat bill after some last-minute changes. The bill, which will now be sent back to the Ohio House for concurrence, would outlaw abortion in the state once a baby's heartbeat can be detected. Once the changes are approved by the House, likely on Thursday, the bill will be sent to "pro-life" Gov. Kasich, who has vowed to veto it.

Once it hits Kasich's desk, he will have ten days to either veto or sign the bill. In Ohio, a three-fifths majority is required to override a veto, which means two more votes are needed to bypass a possible Kasich veto. If he refuses to sign off on the bill, the Senate would have to be called back into session during their holiday break in order to vote on the override.

Four Republicans — John Eklund, Matt Dolan, Stephanie Kunze, and Gayle Manning — shamefully crossed the aisle to vote with Democrats to allow the continued slaughter of unborn babies with beating hearts. The lone absent senator, Frank LaRose, who was elected in November to be Ohio's next secretary of state, told PJM that he had to leave the session early to catch a plane for a National Association of Secretaries of State orientation. He said that he plans to vote to override Kasich's veto "if it happens." That means one more vote would still be needed for an override.

Passage of Sub HB 258 would mean that "no person shall knowingly and purposefully perform or induce an abortion on a pregnant woman with the specific intent of causing or abetting the termination of the life of the unborn human individual the pregnant woman is carrying and whose fetal heartbeat has been detected." Doctors who violate the law would be guilty of a fifth-degree felony. There are no penalties in the bill for women who choose to kill their babies. The law, if passed, would allow exceptions for procedures that are "designed or intended to prevent the death of the pregnant woman or to prevent a serious risk of the substantial and irreversible impairment of a major bodily function of the pregnant woman." That language ensures that doctors would not be able to flaut the law by claiming a pregnancy would threaten the mental health of the mother.

The Senate stripped from the bill a requirement that a woman seeking an abortion must have a transvaginal ultrasound performed — which can detect a heartbeat as early as 5 1/2 weeks — in order to determine the gestational age of the child. The amended version requires only an abdominal ultrasound, which usually can detect a heartbeat at around 6-7 weeks gestation.

The language of the bill, which had 53 co-sponsors in the House and nine in the Senate, explains that a fetal heartbeat "has become a key medical predictor that an unborn human individual will reach live birth." Cardiac activity, the bill says, "begins at a biologically identifiable moment in time, normally when the fetal heart is formed in the gestational sac." The life-affirming language codifies into law the humanity of unborn children, much to the credit of Ohio lawmakers.

The evolution of 3-D ultrasound technology along with medical advances that have led to a much greater survival rate for infants born as early as 21 weeks gestation have removed any doubt that "fetal tissue," as abortion apologist euphemistically call it, constitutes a separate, distinct human life -- with its own DNA, its own heartbeat, and its own unique fingerprints. Anyone who claims otherwise is a science denier — spreading lies straight from the pit of hell.

Kasich told reporters last month that he plans to veto the heartbeat bill if it lands on his desk. If he follows through on the threat, it will be the second time in two years he's vetoed the bill.

Kasich, who ran as a pro-life candidate in both 2010 and 2014, signed a bill last year outlawing abortions on children with Down syndrome and in 2016 signed a 20-week abortion ban. However, he vetoed a separate measure that would have protected babies with beating hearts from abortions. He said at the time that the law would have been struck down. "The State of Ohio will be the losing party in that lawsuit and will be forced to cover the legal fees for the pro-choice activists' lawyers," said Kasich. "Therefore, this veto is in the public interest."

Ohio Right to Life, the state's largest pro-life organization, supported Kasich's decision to veto the bill while remaining officially "neutral" on it. The group cited the makeup of the Supreme Court and the Roe v. Wade precedent in defending the decision, which was derided by many in the pro-life community.

"If any liberal justice passes or retires during Trump’s presidency, we will surely see the Court turn in our favor," ORTL said at the time. "But we refuse to put the cart before the horse." The group is still officially "neutral" on the issue, despite President Trump's appointment of an additional conservative justice to the Court.

Governor-elect Mike DeWine, a Republican, has indicated he will sign a heartbeat bill if it comes to his desk. A Kasich veto would mean the bill would have to be re-introduced next session and wind its way through both chambers before it is sent to the governor. There are no guarantees, of course, that the new legislature would even introduce such a bill, let alone pass it.

Outgoing Rep. Christina Hagan, the mother of newborn twins and the bill's primary sponsor in the House, penned a beautiful Facebook post earlier this week urging her colleagues in the Senate to pass the heartbeat bill. "Rocking my boys to sleep and wondering how anyone could work to kill a bill to protect children with beating hearts and sleep at night knowing they had the power to make a difference," she wrote.

Governor Kasich, do the right thing. Sign the heartbeat bill and give the most vulnerable among us — "the least of these" — a chance to live.

I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse. Therefore choose life, that you and your offspring may live (Deuteronomy 30:19-20).

Follow me on Twitter @pbolyard