Home Law Ohio Senate committee meets for the fourth time to discuss testimonies for ‘heartbeat bill’

Ohio Senate committee meets for the fourth time to discuss testimonies for ‘heartbeat bill’

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Ohio senate committee hears opposition and support testimonies in response to senate bill SB 23, commonly known as the “heartbeat bill.”

An Ohio Senate committee heard testimony for the fourth time Wednesday on Senate Bill 23 — the “heartbeat bill.”

SB 23 would prohibit the abortion of an unborn fetus after a heartbeat has been detected. It passed the Ohio House of Representatives 60-35 in November 2018 as House Bill 258.

Supporters and opponents of the bill advocated for or against the advancement of the legislation during Wednesday’s meeting. There is no set voting date to amend the bill and move it forward, according to the office of Sen. Kristina Roegner, the bill’s sponsor.

One of the amendments being considered clarifies the standard medical practice for conducting ultrasounds. It would also create a penalty for performing an abortion after a fetal heartbeat has been detected, making abortion a fourth-degree felony, Roegner said.

It would also remove certain sections of the proposed bill, which allows the medical board to suspend an individual’s medical license, pending a hearing — meaning, they could not practice medicine — for performing an abortion.

Testimonies from opponents and supporters of the bill expressed concerns to the Senate committee the bill’s lack of written sections on abortion exceptions for rape and incest victims, fearing that the bill will cause more damage than good.

“Would in some ways be hypocrisy if we recognized that in every single section of murders in Ohio, killing a pregnant woman counts as a double homicide but not when the pregnancy is terminated by the mother?” Sen. Roegner asked to one of the attestants.

Attestants from various medical and law fields, who supported the bill agreed with Roegner on the statement’s hypocrisy and that the viability of a fetus starts when a heartbeat is detected.

As it stands, Senate Bill 23 will continue to be reviewed in committee with no set date to vote and amend the bill.

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