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Ohio GOP Votes to Unconstitutionally End Legal Abortion at Six Weeks (Updated)

Nicole Knight

Until Tuesday, Ohio Republicans had advanced total abortion bans in the house, but not the state senate, over fears that the law would be struck down in federal court.

UPDATE, December 7, 9:21 a.m.: The Republican-held Ohio House on Tuesday passed the unconstitutional six-week abortion ban, mostly along party lines. The measure now goes to the desk of Gov. John Kasich (R).

Ohio Republicans are advancing a law to outlaw abortion care as early as six weeks of pregnancy, a ban that federal courts have declared unconstitutional.

The abortion ban, which would ban abortion care after a fetal heartbeat is detected, is considered one of the nation’s most extreme anti-choice measures. North Dakota’s GOP-majority legislature enacted a six-week ban in 2013 that was struck down in federal court.

The Ohio Senate passed the legislation on Tuesday along party lines, despite an outcry from Democrats, as Cincinnati.com reported. Ohio Republicans control both legislative chambers and the governor’s office.

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Republican legislators in Ohio said they were emboldened by the prospect of friendlier federal courts under the administration of President-elect Donald Trump, as Cincinnati.com reported. Trump has promised to appoint anti-choice justices.

Until Tuesday, Republicans had advanced total abortion bans in the house, but not the state senate, over fears that the law would be struck down in federal court, according to Cincinnati.com.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit last year affirmed a lower court decision holding that North Dakota’s similar total abortion care ban was unconstitutional. The U.S. Supreme Court has refused to hear the case.

The Ohio legislation was tacked onto a bill about child abuse neglect and reporting. It must now go to the house, before heading to the desk of Republican Gov. John Kasich.

It’s unclear if Kasich, an ardent abortion-rights foe who has sought to strip Planned Parenthood of funding, would support the measure. He has said he was concerned about possible lawsuits over an unconstitutional six-week ban.

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