News Abortion

Ohio “Heartbeat” Bill Still Stalled, Still Opposed By Ohio Right To Life

Robin Marty

Thanks to the opposition of the state's largest anti-abortion group, the Ohio "Heartbeat" bill still hasn't made out of committee. But will it ever?

It’s not very often I get to praise an anti-abortion group, but Ohio Right To Life gets kudos for managing to keep one of the most egregious abortion bans off the legislative floor for a full vote.

The Ohio “Heartbeat” bill, which could ban abortions after a heartbeat could be detected — as early as 18 days post conception in some cases, has been stuck in legislative limbo after being voted through committee.  The roadblock?  One group of anti-choice activists who desperately wants to push for a challenge to Roe V. Wade is being blocked by another group who is afraid of a challenge, fearing the case would actually reaffirm abortion rights.

Now, the Speaker of the House is trying to figure out how to force the two sides into a compromise

Via The Middletown Journal:

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Batchelder has enlisted experts to find a middle ground for the Republicans, who hold 59 of the House’s 99 seats.

“Obviously, we don’t want to send a bill out that has caused division within the right-to-life movement, but by the same token we have to make sure that it doesn’t come to the floor in a format that isn’t as good as we can do because it will undoubtedly end up in the (U.S.) Sixth Circuit (Court of Appeals),” he said.

Batchelder’s challenge is a classic one for the leader of a large majority with many new members, said political scientist John Green.

Batchelder must master the high wire, said Green, director of the Bliss Institute of Applied Politics at the University of Akron.

“Leaders often walk a tight rope, needing to respond to the new members’ impatience, but also (to) temper their enthusiasm,” Green said.

With four other anti-abortion bills running through the legislature, do they really want to upset the apple cart over a bill that will absolutely never be implemented, would be tied up in courts, and would drain the state of money in its defense?

Looks like the Speaker will find out the answer to that question soon.

News Abortion

Ohio House Approves Abortion Bill Deemed Extreme by Some Anti-Choice Activists

Nina Liss-Schultz

The Ohio house on Thursday passed a bill to ban abortion after a fetal heartbeat can be detected, as early as six weeks into a pregnancy, before many people know they are pregnant. A similar six-week ban approved in North Dakota several years ago was found to be unconstitutional.

The Ohio house on Thursday passed a bill to ban abortion after a fetal heartbeat can be detected, as early as six weeks into a pregnancy, before many people know they are pregnant. A similar six-week ban approved in North Dakota several years ago was found to be unconstitutional.

Republican Gov. John Kasich, along with anti-choice advocates in the state, have said they cannot support the bill, HB 69, because it is clearly unconstitutional.

“My feeling about it is I share the concerns of Right to Life about this bill and about potential litigation, but it’s a long way to Tipperary,” Kasich told the Columbus Dispatch on the eve of the vote in the GOP-controlled house. “The house is not the senate and it’s not through, so I like not to comment too much on pending legislation.”

Ohio Right to Life, which is attempting to push through other restrictive abortion laws, including a 20-week ban, did not support previous versions of HB 69 because it has been found to be patently unconstitutional.

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“Even if we disagree about abortion, we can agree it’s best for each person to make her own decision,” said Jennifer Dalven, director of the ACLU’s Reproductive Freedom Project. “The bill is designed to make that impossible by essentially banning abortion. Not only is this bill extremely wrong-headed and terrible for women and families, there’s absolutely no way it will ever stand up in court.”

The Ohio house has once before passed a so-called fetal heartbeat ban, but the proposal died in the senate. A similar bill was introduced last year but did not make it through the house.

This year, the bill, which had 50 co-sponsors, passed the house by a vote of 55 to 40. The bill would make providing an abortion after the detection of a heartbeat a fifth-degree felony for the physician, with a fine of up to $2,500.

Though an exception is provided for the health of the pregnant person, the bill gives no exception for pregnancy resulting from rape or incest.

Republicans control both the Ohio house and senate by wide margins.

News Law and Policy

Ohio Bill Would Effectively Ban Abortion as Early as Six Weeks

Nina Liss-Schultz

Fifty Ohio legislators on Tuesday sponsored a so-called fetal heartbeat abortion ban, the third of its kind to be introduced in the state house in recent years.

Fifty Ohio legislators on Tuesday sponsored a so-called fetal heartbeat abortion ban, the third of its kind to be introduced in the state house in recent years.

HB 69, proposed by House Speaker Cliff Rosenberger (R-Clarksville), would outlaw abortion after a heartbeat can be detected in the fetus. That can happen as early as six weeks into a pregnancy, a time before many people are aware they’re pregnant.

Violating the law would be a fifth-degree felony for the physician, and could result in up to a year in prison and a fine of $2,500.

The proposed legislation includes an exception to allow abortions when needed to protect the health of the pregnant person. The bill also would create a legislative committee to promote adoption in such cases.

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“Fetal heartbeat” bans are considered so untenable that even most anti-choice groups don’t support them. Ohio Right to Life, the state’s most powerful anti-choice group, was not in favor of the previous version of HB 69, which has been introduced twice in the Ohio house.

“Politicians do not know or understand a woman’s specific situation,” Stephanie Kight, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood Advocates of Ohio, said in a statement. “They shouldn’t be allowed to make personal decisions on her behalf. Women, their families and physicians should be trusted and respected to make the health care decision that is best for their family.”

“HB 69 is bad law and bad medicine, and is unconstitutional and unnecessary,” Kight added. “We need our legislators to work toward expanding access to health care instead of restricting it.”

Similar bans have led to lengthy court challenges in other states, including Arkansas and North Dakota.

Meanwhile, Ohio Right to Life this year has said it will focus on other restrictions on abortion, including a 20-week ban, and a bill to de-fund Planned Parenthood.

Republicans control both chambers of the Ohio legislature by wide margins.