HB 493 would prohibit abortion procedures after a fetal heartbeat is detected. If passed, the bill would prohibit abortion care as early as six weeks of pregnancy.
The bill prohibits any person from knowingly and purposefully performing or inducing an abortion on a pregnant patient with the specific intent of causing or abetting the termination of the life of the “unborn human individual” the pregnant patient is carrying and whose fetal heartbeat has been detected. The bill does not include an exception for cases of rape or incest.
Any person found guilty of violating this provision would face a felony of the fifth degree.
The provision would not apply to any physician who performs an abortion in order to prevent the death of the pregnant patient or to prevent a serious risk of the substantial and irreversible impairment of a major bodily function of the pregnant patient. In this case, the physician would need to specify (in a written document) the pregnant patient’s medical condition and the medical rationale for the physician’s conclusion that the medical procedure is necessary to prevent the death of the pregnant patient or to prevent a serious risk of the substantial and irreversible impairment of a major bodily function of the pregnant patient.
HB 493 would also require any physician performing or inducing an abortion on a pregnant patient to do the following:
- Specify in a written document the medical rationale for the person’s conclusion that the abortion is necessary to address that condition (if preserving the health of the patient was the reason for the procedure); and
- If the reason for the abortion is other than to preserve the health of the pregnant patient, the person shall specify in a written document that maternal health is not the purpose of the abortion.
The bill details the circumstances in which the pregnant patient may file a civil action for the wrongful death of their “unborn child.”
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 the facility are in compliance with the reporting requirements.
HB 493 was originally introduced as a bill intended to amend current Ohio law regarding child abuse and neglect. The “Heartbeat Bill” provisions were added to the bill in the Senate.
HB 493 passed both the House and Senate on December 6, 2016 and has been sent to Gov. Kasich for signature.
The law was vetoed by Gov. Kasich on December 13, 2016.