News Abortion

Ohio Legislature to Consider Heartbeat Ban (UPDATED)

Robin Marty

Ohio's new heartbeat bill, which could make abortion illegal as early as six weeks from the pregnant person's last menstrual period, will be introduced at a Thursday afternoon press conference.

UPDATE, August 15, 9:30 a.m.: The Associated Press reports that Ohio’s new heartbeat bill will be introduced at a Thursday afternoon press conference that will feature Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar, the stars of TLC’s 19 Kids and Counting.

Members of the anti-choice group Faith2Action have spent years trying and failing to get the Ohio legislature to pass a ban on abortions at the point when an embryonic heartbeat can be detected. Now it is being reported that the legislature may soon revisit the possibility of a heartbeat ban in the state.

According to the Columbus Dispatch, state Rep. Christina Hagan (R-Alliance) may propose a heartbeat ban as early as this week, with the support of longtime house member and heartbeat ban supporter Rep. Lynn Wachtmann (R-Napoleon). Rep. Wachtmann was the chief sponsor of the failed 2011 version of the bill, which passed the Ohio house but did not make it to the senate for a vote.

The ban, which could make abortion illegal as early as six weeks from the pregnant person’s last menstrual period, which is before many people become aware they are pregnant, is expected to be introduced around the same time that Rep. Hagan will appear at a fundraising event for Faith2Action.

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Republican House Speaker Bill Batchelder said at the beginning of this year that “there is no question” a heartbeat ban would be reintroduced at some point during the 2013 session.

Within the last year, a version of a heartbeat ban has passed in both North Dakota, which aims to ban abortions as soon as a heartbeat can be detected, and Arkansas, which restricts abortions after 12 weeks of pregnancy. Federal judges, in two separate cases, seeking to determine the constitutionality of the restrictions, are reviewing both laws. (In North Dakota, U.S. District Judge Daniel L. Hovland has blocked the abortion ban from taking effect while a lawsuit challenges its constitutionality.)

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