Ohio Governor Signs Bill Banning Abortions After Heartbeat is Detected

By Zachary Stieber

Republican Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine signed a heartbeat bill that bans abortions around six weeks after conception.

The bill makes it illegal to perform an abortion after a heartbeat in the unborn baby is detected.

There is an exception for medical emergencies that place the prospective mother’s life in danger.

The new law is set to take place on July 11.

‪Watch Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine sign the “heartbeat bill,” which would ban abortion after a fetal heartbeat has been detected. ‬

Posted by Enquirer – Cincinnati and Kentucky on Thursday, April 11, 2019

“The essential function of government is to protect the most vulnerable among us, those who do not have a voice,” the governor said, reported the Columbus Dispatch. “Government’s rule should be to protect life from the beginning to the end, to protect those who cannot protect themselves. … The signing of this bill today is consistent with that respect for life.”

Opponents called the bill “unconstitutional” and said it will be challenged in court.

“This legislation is blatantly unconstitutional and we will fight to the bitter end to ensure that this bill is permanently blocked,” said Freda Levenson, legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio. ”(This) is one of the most aggressive, oppressive and radical attacks against women ever seen in this state and this country. … We feel confident our impending litigation will ultimately prevail.”

But Attorney General Dave Yost, whose office will defend the new law in court, issued a statement saying “sometimes the evolution of the law requires bold steps.”

Ohio Rep. Derek Merrin, a Republican, advocates a yes vote on the Heartbeat Bill at the Ohio Statehouse in Columbus, Ohio, on April 10, 2019. (Brooke LaValley/The Columbus Dispatch via AP)
Some members of the Ohio House applaud following the vote for the Heartbeat Bill while others photograph protesters who unfurled banners reading “This is not a House of Worship” and “This is not a Doctor’s office” at the Ohio Statehouse in Columbus, Ohio, on April 10, 2019. (Brooke LaValley/The Columbus Dispatch via AP)

“In the last 46 years, the practice of medicine has changed. Science has changed. Even the point of viability has changed. Only the law has lagged behind. This law provides a stable, objective standard to guide the courts,” he continued.

Senate Bill 23, the legislation that passed and was signed by DeWine after two vetoes of similar bills by former Gov. John Kasich, states that if a heartbeat is detected in the unborn human individual that the pregnant woman is carrying then a doctor can only perform an abortion if a medical emergency necessitating the abortion exists, the bill states.

If a heartbeat is detected and the doctor still performs an abortion then he or she can be charged with a felony.

Ultrasound shows baby
A 3D ultrasound showing a baby inside the womb. (Fotopress/Getty Images)
john kasich veteos heartbeat bill
Then-Ohio Gov. John Kasich delivers his State of the State address at the Sandusky State Theatre in Sandusky, Ohio, on April 4, 2017. (Ron Schwane/AP Photo, File)

The bill also requires a doctor to meet with the pregnant woman at least 24 hours before an abortion to give her an opportunity to ask questions about the procedure. During the meeting, the doctor must inform the woman of the specific abortion procedure that will be performed, the medical risks associated with the procedure, and the medical risks associated with the woman carrying the fetus to term.

The woman must sign a paper that she received information and materials outlined in the law and that she consents to the abortion.

The signing of the bill came as Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp’s office researches a similar heartbeat bill that the Georgia Legislature passed.

Kemp said this week that he plans to sign the bill by May 10.