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Heartbeat Bill Hits Flatline in Ohio Senate

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A highly controversial bill centered on abortion rights in Ohio is still struggling to escape the state Senate.

This legislation, appropriately dubbed the “Heartbeat Bill,” would outlaw abortion after a fetal heartbeat is detected, effectively making Ohio the most anti-abortion state in the United States. Some have argued that abortion would practically be illegal if the bill became law, considering the fact that a fetus develops a heartbeat six weeks into a pregnancy.

However, Republican Senate leader Tom Niehaus has stopped the bill, doubtful of its ability to survive the court’s review. Speaking to his fellow Republicans, Niehaus stated the Senate’s need to focus on more pressing issues.

“I want to continue to focus on jobs and the economy. That’s what people are concerned about.”

Interestingly, much of the opposition to the bill has come from within the pro-life camp.

Standard-bearer of the anti-abortion movement Ohio Right to Life was against the bill when it passed the House in 2011. Questioning its legality, the group feared that under the Supreme Court’s scrutiny the bill stood to do more harm than good to their cause.

At the other side of the pro-life movement, supporters of the bill have employed a number of tactics to force such a legal challenge.

Supporters had hoped that even in the face of judicial review, the Heartbeat Bill would not only survive but lead to the overturning of Roe v. Wade. That decision recognized viability, or 22 to 24 weeks, as the legal time limit for an abortion.

To get the bill through the Legislature, lobbying has been nothing short of sensational. Banners, flowers, and plush bears with beating hearts were all presented to on-the-fence GOP senators. Things got particularly interesting during one House session, when ultrasound images of in utero fetuses’ beating hearts were presented to the Legislature.

Behind these potent lobbying campaigns is the group Faith2Action. The president of this Ohio-based organization, Janet Folger Porter, makes no excuses for her groups efforts to pass the bill.

“This is the closest we have ever been to protecting babies with beating hearts,” she said back when the bill had passed the House. “When this passes it will be the most protective legislation in the nation.”

Unfortunately for Faith2Action, despite their adamant support, the bill won’t be passing through the 129th General Assembly.  Porter and her side of the pro-life camp will have to begin their efforts anew when Congress reconvenes in January.

 

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