Ohio Republicans to Introduce Anti-Abortion Legislation on Valentine’s Day
Republicans in the Ohio House of Representatives plan to introduce the “heartbeat bill” Monday, which if passed, will ban abortions in fetuses that have detectable heartbeats.
The timetable established by the bill is shaky as some fetuses develop heartbeats within 18 days and others taking six weeks.
The legislation would directly oppose the 1973 Roe v. Wade Supreme Court mandate under which a woman has the right to abort a fetus until it is “viable” or “potentially able to live outside the mother’s womb, albeit with artificial aid.” The viability of a fetus is generally determined around seven weeks.
The bill, written by Janet Folger Porter, the president of the conservative organization Faith2Action, is the most stringent and widely supported piece of legislation out of five anti-abortion resolutions that have been introduced into Ohio Legislation in the past week. Out of 99 representatives in Ohio state government, 40 have signed on as supporters already.
Due to Republican domination in all branches of Ohio state government, the bill has a strong chance of passing at a state level. Supporters and opponents share similar views on the bill’s ability to stand up to appeals and the Supreme Court.
Stephanie Krider, legislative director for Ohio Right to Life, said the group’s official position is neutral.
“We’re not supporting the bill but we’re not actively opposing it,” she said. “We aren’t in support because we know the Supreme Court has said they would not approve any kind of restrictions on abortion based on viability. We just don’t think it’s going to go anywhere…We don’t have support of the Court.”
Pro-choice advocates expressed their lack of concern with the bill as well. President and CEO of Planned Parenthood Southwest Ohio Region Becki Brenner said it will cost the state money if they want to defend it.
” It may not make it out of committee,” she said. “The committee may recognize that this is a bill that they can’t win.”
Members of both groups also expressed concern with the bill because it could take away a woman’s choice for an abortion before she knows she is pregnant.
Laurence H. Tribe, a Pro-life constitutional scholar and professor at Harvard Law School said to Fox News said, “There are clearly fetuses that are not yet viable but have heartbeats what they’re doing is trying to push the point at which the woman’s rights are subordinated to those of the unborn to a much earlier point in pregnancy.”
Nancy Keenan, president of NARAL Pro-choice said that they are making decisions for women in “banning abortion basically before some women even know they are pregnant,” she said. “Technology can give us information but it can’t make the decision for us.”
Similar bills are being prepared by Texas, Georgia and Oklahoma State governments while Kansas and Arkansas watch closely.