Today, Governor John Kasich signed the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act (Sub. S.B. 127), landmark legislation which would ban late-term abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy. And, citing concerns it would be overturned in court, Kasich vetoed a ban on all abortions after the heart of an unborn baby begins to beat.
“I agree with Ohio Right to Life and other leading, pro-life advocates that SB 127 (a 20-week ban) is the best, most legally sound and sustainable approach to protecting the sanctity of human life,” Kasich said in a statement.
Because the heartbeat-based abortion ban will not likely survive a legal challenge in court, pro-life legislators approved the 20-week abortion ban with the hope of saving as many babies as possible under Roe v. Wade.
The pro-life group Ohio Right to Life thanked Kasich for signing the 20-week ban — saying it would save hundreds of babies from abortions.
“On behalf of Ohio Right to Life and our statewide members, we sincerely thank Governor Kasich for his unwavering support for the unborn and our pro-life mission. By signing S.B. 127, the 20-week ban, Governor Kasich will save hundreds of unborn lives each year and he positioned the state of Ohio to directly challenge Roe v. Wade,” it told LifeNews. “The 20-week ban was nationally designed to be the vehicle to end abortion in America. It challenges the current national abortion standard and properly moves the legal needle from viability to the baby’s ability to feel pain.”
“Given the current make-up of the United States Supreme Court, Governor Kasich got it right by embracing the strategic incremental approach to ending abortion. Pro-life Ohioans are proud to have his support as a super majority of Republicans and Democrats within the General Assembly voted to support the 20-week ban. At no time in our state’s history have we had such protective pro-life laws, and we have Gov. Kasich and our pro-life legislature to thank,” the group added.
“Ohio Right to Life supports Governor Kasich’s decision to bypass the heartbeat legislative approach at this time. While it must have been difficult, the current make-up of a radically pro-abortion Supreme Court required the Governor to exercise great restraint. Further, filling the current vacancy on the Court by our next President will still leave the court with a pro-abortion majority,” Ohio Right to Life continued.
Republican Sens. Bill Seitz and Bill Coley were among the three Republicans who voted against the heartbeat bill over concerns it would be overturned in court.
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“The sad reality of this bill passing will be that we spend millions of taxpayer dollars on attorney fees for a bill that has zero chance of becoming law,” said Coley. “My biggest fear is that some of the great work that we have done in protecting life here in Ohio will be jeopardized.”
Looking at North Dakota’s heartbeat 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.”
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.
Ohio Right to Life noted this: “The current pro-abortion Supreme Court was given the opportunity on two occasions in 2016 to address heartbeat legislation and both times refused to hear the case allowing the lower court’s ruling to stand. Both of those states’ heartbeat laws have been ruled unconstitutional, never took effect and saved not one unborn life. Legal scholars believe that asking the Court to entertain a third heartbeat law at this time would cause irreparable harm to the pro-life movement. The highest court in America has spoken twice on heartbeat laws in 2016, and the court supported the pro-abortion position.”
“By endorsing the 20-week ban in lieu of the heartbeat approach, Governor Kasich provided strong pro-life leadership to finally engage a winnable battle with the federal judiciary while saving countless babies at the same time,” it added.