Ohio Gov. John Kasich said Monday that he will veto legislation to ban abortions after an unborn baby’s heartbeat is detectable if it reaches his desk.
The controversial legislation, which passed the Ohio House last week, would ban most abortions in Ohio. An unborn baby’s heartbeat is detectable around six weeks of pregnancy, though new research suggests the heartbeat may begin as early as 18 days after conception. The bill also would allow abortion practitioners to be charged with a felony for aborting unborn babies whose hearts are beating.
The Columbus Dispatch reports Kasich made his position clear during a press conference Monday. Though he is a pro-life Republican, he previously vetoed similar legislation in 2016, fearing a court challenge.
“I see nothing that’s coming that would make me change my position,” Kasich said of the new bill.
The heartbeat legislation passed the House with just enough votes to override a veto, but the state Senate has not moved on it yet.
Timing is part of Senate leaders’ consideration. Kasich leaves office in January, and pro-life Gov.-elect Mike DeWine will take office.
According to the report:
If lawmakers want to override Kasich’s vetoes, the Senate must act shortly after next week. “I think we’d have a long December,” [said Senate President Larry Obhof, R-Medina.]
“There is a question of whether do we get to the right number of votes,” he said. The Senate needs 20 for an override, which appears more of a certainty with the gun bill than the abortion measure.
“There’s also a question of, does Mike DeWine want to work with us on those issues in January,” Obhof said. “Are these things better dealt with right now, even though we will have to push back on the governor, or could they just as easily be done on Jan. 20?”
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In 2017, 20,893 unborn babies were aborted in Ohio, according to the state Department of Health.
Heartbeat bills have been met with skepticism in the past, even by many pro-life groups, because of pro-abortion legal challenges. When states lose legal challenges to the abortion industry, their taxpayers often are forced to pay the abortion group’s legal fees.
North Dakota and Arkansas passed heartbeat bills several years ago, but federal courts struck down both laws. 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.”
The U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear an appeal of the cases in 2016.
Though there is more hope that the new conservative-majority U.S. Supreme Court may consider an abortion ban, it is difficult to say if it would for certain. Some legal scholars have speculated that the new conservative court would be more likely to consider cases that gradually chip away at Roe v. Wade rather than reverse it completely.