Ohio Senate passes Heartbeat Bill that could effectively ban abortions

But Ohio Right to Life supports another bill
Posted at 4:04 PM, Dec 06, 2016
and last updated 2016-12-07 19:32:02-05

COLUMBUS, Ohio - Ohio senators voted Tuesday for a bill that could effectively outlaw abortions.

The Heartbeat Bill bans the procedure once a heartbeat can be detected - usually about six weeks into pregnancy.

The Senate passed the bill 21-10 largely along party lines. The Ohio House earlier approved the bill.

If signed by Gov. John Kasich, the legislation would make Ohio's abortion laws among the most restrictive in the nation.

However, some abortions foes, including Kasich and Ohio Right to Life, have said the bill would not survive a constitutional challenge. Federal courts blocked similar laws in Arkansas and North Dakota. The  U.S. 8th Circuit Court of Appeals has upheld those lower-court rulings.

"We expect a court challenge. If we're going to do any kind of bold legislation there will be a court challenge and actually that could be a positive thing," said Paula Westwood, a longtime supporter of Ohio Right to Life. "Because if we have a law that receives a court challenge that makes it all the way up through the courts that will give Roe v. Wade a chance to be revisited by the Supreme Court."

Planned Parenthood, on the other hand, says the bill is unfair and unreasonable.

"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."

Ohio Right to Life is pushing another bill that would ban abortion at 20 weeks. That measure could receive a final vote Wednesday.