Ohio Gov. DeWine signs ‘heartbeat’ abortion bill

Ohio Gov. DeWine signs ‘heartbeat’ abortion bill

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine has signed a bill that would make it illegal to carry out an abortion once a foetal heartbeat is detected. John Kasich, also a Republican, vetoed both, arguing the law would not survive a court challenge. The final votes followed a spirited committee hearing where abortion rights activists evoked an era of back alleys and coat-hanger abortions.

About 24 hours after the Ohio Legislature passed the abortion ban, DeWine signed it.

Alabama may go further, with legislation introduced last week to criminalize abortion at any stage unless the mother's health is in jeopardy.

Ohio's closely divided politics had slowed the progress of the bill as it has caught momentum elsewhere, forcing years of debate in the state where the movement originated.

The law will be challenged, and is unlikely to get past an appeals court.

'Taking this action really is a kind of a time-honored tradition, the constitutional tradition of making a good faith argument for modification or reversal of existing legal precedents, ' he said.

Obhof said there is some other abortion-related legislation that his members might want to bring forward in the future as well.

The bans may face difficulties just reaching the high court, given that Roe established a clear right to an abortion during the first three months of pregnancy.

Federal judges in Kentucky and Iowa have blocked the laws or struck them down as unconstitutional.

"The heartbeat bill is the next incremental step in our strategy to overturn Roe v. Wade", said Gonidakis.

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Alternatively, the high court could agree to hear any of several less sweeping anti-abortion measures.

The law would penalize anyone who performs an abortion on an unborn baby with a detectable heartbeat.

Under the legislation - among the toughest anti-abortion laws in the nation - it will be illegal in OH to terminate a pregnancy by the time the fetus's heartbeat can be detected - normally around six weeks into a pregnancy. That means it might decide to weigh in on abortion rights as soon as its next term.

One GOP representative said on the House floor that Republicans are "excited" because they see this bill heading to the U.S. Supreme Court to strike down Roe v. Wade.

The renewed challenges come as the number of abortions performed in the US has steadily declined since reaching a peak of 1.6 million in 1990.

The Guttmacher Institute, a nonprofit group on sexual and reproductive health issues, says the legislation is under consideration in 28 states to ban abortion in different ways.

Regardless of what happens with Ohio's bill, the sting in the legislature is palpable.

"The essential function of government is to protect the most vulnerable among us, those who don't have a voice", DeWine said at the bill's signing.

"We had so many phone calls from people trying to save up the money for their procedure", Crim said.

Kemp said this week that he plans to sign the bill by May 10. Two similar bans have already been blocked or overturned by federal courts.

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