Ohio “Pro-Life” Legislator Under Fire For Flip-Flopping, Killing Bill to Ban Abortions

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Dec 28, 2018   |   3:53PM   |   Columbus, OH

An Ohio state legislator is coming under fire for apparently flip-flopping on a bill to ban abortions after the unborn baby’s heartbeat begins. A state legislator initially voted for the bill when it passed out of the state legislature but then voted against overriding Governor John Kasich’s veto.

The Ohio state Senate failed to override Governor John Kasich’s veto of a bill to ban abortions after the unborn baby’s heart begins to beat. The Senate’s failure came just a brief time after the state House voted to override the veto.

On Thursday, the Ohio House passed the measure, 61-28, but the Ohio Senate came up one vote short, 19-13.

Kasich vetoed the bill last week, saying it would be struck down as unconstitutional before it could save any lives, and taxpayers would be forced to pay pro-abortion groups’ legal fees. At the same time, he signed into law a bill to make Ohio the 10th state to ban dismemberment abortions that tear babies limb from limb.

Now, pro-life legislators are voicing their displeasure with the senator they say killed the bill. Here’s more:

Longtime “Heartbeat Bill” supporter Lori Viars is not happy with Sen. Bill Beagle. He voted for the bill earlier this month but didn’t vote to override the veto. Now Viars sees Beagle as a traitor and wants him fired from a new job with Ohio’s Republican Treasurer-Elect Robert Sprague.

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“This is not acceptable and his betrayal should not be rewarded. Bill Beagle lied,” Viars said.

Beagle’s Facebook page has been inundated with messages from angry constituents who are circulating a petition to get Beagle fired. Beagle has not responded to a request for an interview on the subject.

Beagle was not the only Republican in the Ohio Senate who voted against overriding Kasich’s veto of the bill. Republican Senators John Eklund, Gayle Manning, Matt Dolan and Stephanie Kunze also voted against the veto override but all four of them also voted against the bill itself earlier this month.

State House Bill 258 would ban most abortions in Ohio by prohibiting abortions after an unborn baby’s heartbeat is detectable. Research suggests a baby’s heartbeat may begin as early as 18 days after conception, but the heartbeat is detectable around six weeks. The bill also would allow abortion practitioners to be charged with a felony for violating the law.

Last week, Kasich explained his reasons for vetoing the bill: “[H.B. 258] is contrary to the Supreme Court of the United States’ current rulings on abortion. As the losing party, the state of Ohio will be forced to pay hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars to cover the legal fees for the pro-choice activists’ lawyers.”

Meanwhile, on Thursday, abortion activists gathered in the capital to protest the legislation, according to the report. Planned Parenthood of Ohio President Iris Harvey claimed the bill would take away women’s “right to choose” abortion.

Planned Parenthood CEO Leana Wen also tweeted about the legislation, claiming it is rooted in ideology and not medicine. Contrary to her claims, it is widely accepted as a medical fact that an unborn baby’s heart begins beating by six weeks of pregnancy.

Kasich did sign a second pro-life bill last week that prohibits brutal dismemberment abortions. In these common second-trimester abortion procedures, nearly fully formed unborn babies are torn limb from limb while their hearts are beating.

Heartbeat bills have been met with skepticism in the past, even by some pro-life groups, because of pro-abortion legal challenges. State taxpayers have been forced to pay pro-abortion groups’ legal fees after losing other abortion cases.

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.

There is more hope that the new conservative-majority U.S. Supreme Court may consider an abortion ban, but it is difficult to say if it would for certain. Some legal scholars have speculated that the court would be more likely to consider cases that gradually chip away at Roe v. Wade – such as a dismemberment abortion ban – rather than reverse it completely.