Ohio Senate Passes Bill to Ban All Abortions After an Unborn Baby’s Heartbeat Begins

State   Steven Ertelt   Dec 6, 2016   |   5:00PM    Columbus, Ohio

The Ohio State Senate today passed legislation that would ban all abortions after an unborn baby’s heart begins to beat. An unborn child’s heart begins to beat at 22 days after conception or earlier.

Should the measure be approved by the full Ohio State Legislature and be signed into law, the legislation would likely be struck down in court as has been the case and two other states — Arkansas and North Dakota.

As the Ohio General Assembly considers bills in these last days of lame duck session before the year’s end, significant amendments are being added to various laws to pass additional legislation. Today the Ohio Senate added Ohio’s Unborn Heartbeat Protection bill, which has been before the legislature for several years, as an amendment to House Bill 493 child abuse reporting law. The Senate has approved H.B. 493 with Heartbeat protection amendment 21-10.

H.B. 493 with the heartbeat protection amendment now goes to the Ohio House of Representatives for concurrence and that chamber could take a vote as early as today. Then, if approved, the bill goes to pro-life Governor John Kasich for his potential signature.

“Cincinnati Right to Life, the entire statewide Ohio pro-life coalition, and all else who have supported the Unborn Heartbeat Protection bill the past several years thanks and congratulates the Ohio Senate on this momentous vote,” said Paula Westwood, Executive Director, Right to Life of Greater Cincinnati. “We look forward to passage of H.B. 493 with Heartbeat protection amendment in the Ohio House, and Governor Kasich’s immediate support.”

Looking at North Dakota’s bill, a federal appeals court overturned the law in 2014. The Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals said the following about their ruling on the six-week ban: “Because there is no genuine dispute that (North Dakota’s law) generally prohibits abortions before viability — as the Supreme Court has defined that concept — and because we are bound by Supreme Court precedent holding that states may not prohibit pre-viability abortions, we must affirm the district court’s grant of summary judgment to the plaintiffs.”

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A U.S. Supreme Court decision against the law in January was not surprising given the high court still has a pro-abortion majority that supports Roe v. Wade, which allows virtually unlimited abortions throughout pregnancy and essentially prevents states from protecting most unborn children.

The North Dakota and other states’ heartbeat laws are controversial even among some pro-lifers, not because they oppose banning abortions but because they believed that it would be overturned and the state would be forced to pay abortion activists’ legal costs. Such groups are working to change the courts so Roe can be overturned and legislation like the Heartbeat bill and others can be approved to provide legal protection for unborn children.

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