CINCINNATI -- Dozens gathered downtown Sunday afternoon to protest the Heartbeat Bill, a bill that would ban abortion once a heartbeat is detected, or around 6 weeks of gestation.
Ohio Senate passed the bill Tuesday, and Ohio would have some of the most restrictive abortion laws in the country if Gov. John Kasich signs the bill into law. Kasich faces another bill which would ban abortion after 20 weeks of pregnancy with no exceptions -- even rape or incest.
Protesters from Reproductive Rights Advocates of Cincinnati, a grassroots organization with a mission to discuss and examine reproductive rights and policies, argued that the bills eliminate a woman’s right to choose, especially in the event that the woman has experienced sexual violence.
“Both of these bans would not include exception for rape or incest, so we are forcing those who could be pregnant to carry their attacker's seed to term and that is cruel and unusual punishment,” said Jill David of Reproductive Rights Advocates of Cincinnati. “Forcing a woman to carry a nonviable pregnancy to term is cruel and unusual punishment.”
But leaders from Ohio Right to Life say in addition to saving lives, the Heartbeat Bill would enable the state of Ohio to make strides in what could be a national movement to overturn Roe v. Wade.
Ohio Right to Life said the following in a statement:
"By protecting children who can feel pain from the brutal practice of abortion, Ohio is challenging the archaic, arbitrary framework set up by seven activist judges more than 40 years ago.”
Much like members of Reproductive Rights Advocates of Cincinnati, Planned Parenthood has said they feel the bills are unconstitutional.
"At six weeks, most women don't even know they're pregnant," the Ohio chapter of Planned Parenthood said in a statement. "This bill could take away a woman's right to make her own medical decisions before she would have known she had a decision to make."