Ohio’s Republican-controlled House passed one of the strictest abortion bills in the country Thursday, two years after Republican Gov. John Kasich — who has a track record of opposing abortion rights — vetoed the same bill.
The legislation, known as a “heartbeat bill,” prohibits abortions once a fetal heartbeat is detectable or as soon as six weeks, which is often before someone knows they’re pregnant. The language also makes no exceptions for rape and incest. The bill now heads to the Republican-controlled Senate and then likely, to Kasich’s desk, although it’s unclear if he’d veto again. The bill passed passed 58-35, just two votes short of having the option to override the governor’s veto.
Kasich has signed 18 abortion restrictions into law during his time as governor, according to the Dayton Daily News, but he wouldn’t put his stamp of approval on the heartbeat bill the state legislature passed in 2016. Kasich did sign a separate measure, however, that outlawed abortion after 20 weeks unless the mother’s life is in danger. If Kasich does veto this version, Republicans could also try again under incoming Republican governor Mike DeWine, who said outright that he would sign the bill.
Ohio’s statehouse legislators have a penchant for theatrics, and Thursday’s hours-long vote was no exception.
“We all have a beating heart,” said state Rep. Christina Hagan, co-sponsor, while holding her twin infants on the House floor, according to the Daily News.
Democrats strongly oppose the bill and reproductive health groups, across the board, have denounced it. Even Ohio Right to Life, an anti-abortion advocacy group, has expressed neutrality on the issue over concerns it’s so extreme that it could trigger a Supreme Court fight with an outcome that’s even stricter than Roe v. Wade.
Cover image: In this Sept. 16, 2016, file photo, Ohio Gov. John Kasich speaks during the daily news briefing at the White House in Washington. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, File)