Ohio Fetal Heartbeat Abortion Ban (HB 68)
This law was last updated on Feb 13, 2019
HB 68 would prohibit a physician from performing or inducing an abortion on a pregnant person if it has been determined that the fetus has a detectable heartbeat.
A fetal heartbeat can be detected as early as six weeks of pregnancy—two weeks after a person’s first missed period—and well before many people even realize that they are pregnant.
The bill would prohibit a physician from performing an abortion without first determining whether the fetus has a detectable heartbeat.
A physician would be able to perform an abortion only in cases of medical emergency or if it has been determined that there is no detectable heartbeat.
In the case of a medical emergency, the physician would be required to make a note in the patient’s record of the following:
- The physician’s belief that a medical emergency necessitating the abortion existed;
- The medical condition of the pregnant patient that prevented compliance.
A person who knowingly and purposefully performs or induces an abortion before determining if there is a fetal heartbeat—and absent any medical emergency—would be charged with a felony of the fifth degree.
Heartbeat Detection Informed Consent
The pregnant patient would be required to sign a form acknowledging that they have received information from the person intending to perform or induce the abortion that a fetal heartbeat has been detected and that the pregnant patient is aware of the statistical probability of carrying the fetus to term.
Heartbeat Abortion Ban
The bill would prohibit a person from performing or inducing an abortion on a pregnant person when a fetal heartbeat has been detected.
A person who violates the above prohibition would be charged with a felony of the fifth degree.
This would not apply when an abortion is necessary in cases of life endangerment or serious risk of irreversible impairment of the pregnant person.
In the case that a medical procedure is necessary to prevent serious injury or death of the pregnant individual, the physician would need to make a note of such condition in the patient’s record.
Additionally, a physician who performs or induces an abortion on a pregnant patient would need to do the following:
- If the reason for the abortion is to preserve the health of the pregnant individual, the person would need to specify in a written document the medical condition and rationale for the person’s conclusion that the abortion is necessary; and
- If the reason for the abortion is other than to preserve the health of the pregnant individual, the person would need to specify in a written document that maternal health is not the purpose of the abortion.
Cause of Action
The bill provides for an individual to file a civil action for the wrongful death of their “unborn child” if a physician performs an abortion in violation of this law, performs an abortion without providing the patient with the necessary information described above, or if the patient did not sign the necessary forms.
The bill provides for the creation of a joint legislative committee on adoption promotion and support.
The bill would require the department of health to inspect the medical records from any facility that performs abortions to ensure that the physicians or other persons who perform abortions at that facility are in compliance with the reporting requirements. Failure to comply with reporting requirements could lead to the suspension of an individual’s certificate to practice medicine.
Roe v. Wade
The bill states that it is the intent of the general assembly that a court judgment or order suspending enforcement of any of the above provisions is not to be regarded as tantamount to repeal of that provision.
The bill provides that in the case of an overruling of Roe v. Wade, the attorney general may apply to the pertinent state or federal court for either or both of the following:
- A declaration that any one or more sections specified in this law are constitutional;
- A judgment or order lifting an injunction against the enforcement of any one or more sections specified in this law.
If the attorney general fails to apply for the relief within 30 days of Roe v. Wade being overruled, any county prosecutor would be able to apply to the appropriate state or federal court for such relief.
Companion bill to SB 23.
2/12/19 – Introduced; referred to House Health Committee.