by Kelvey Vander Hart
The Ohio House of Representatives has passed an important piece of pro-life legislation, making it a felony for doctors to abort unborn babies who have a detectable heartbeat.
Approved by a vote of 60 to 35 on Thursday, this bill classifies aborting a baby with a beating heart as a fifth-degree felony. Under this classification, doctors who abort such babies could face one year in prison or a $2,500 fine.
There are no exceptions for cases of rape and incest within the bill. However, there is an exception for abortions carried out because of a medical emergency or to save the mother’s life.
State Representative Christina Hagan (R-Alliance) is the bill’s sponsor and has a greater vision for its impact than the simple establishment of a new law to protect the unborn. She explained that the language was specifically crafted to challenge Roe v. Wade.
“We believe Ohio is best positioned to send this through the Circuit Courts and to the federal Supreme Court,” she stated, adding that she was confident the bill would become law before the year is out.
If the bill passes the Ohio Senate, it will land on Governor John Kasich’s desk. Kasich, a 2016 Republican presidential candidate, is typically pro-life and previously signed a bill banning abortions occurring after the 20th week of pregnancy. However, in 2016 he vetoed a different heartbeat bill passed by the state legislature.
Kasich explained that he vetoed the bill because he found it to be contrary to how the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled on abortion, and he cited court cases that have ruled it unconstitutional in other states.
“We did not have the strength in the majority to overcome that veto,” Hagan commented while explaining what has changed since the original bill was vetoed. “We do now.”
If the bill does not make it to Governor Kasich’s desk before his term in office comes to an end, the future will nevertheless get even brighter for its passage. Ohio’s current attorney general and governor-elect, Mike DeWine, has already vocalized his support for the bill.
“I will sign the bill,” he stated during a campaign debate. “I believe that the essential function of government is to protect the most vulnerable members of society. That includes the unborn.”
The bill will appear before the Ohio Senate soon.
Photo credit: Quinn Dombrowski via Flickr, CC BY-SA 2.0