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Ohio’s ‘heartbeat bill’ would ban abortion before most women know they’re pregnant

Ohio’s ‘heartbeat bill’ would ban abortion before most women know they’re pregnant


For years, Ohioans have fought over the nation’s most restrictive abortion ban: the “heartbeat bill.”

The fight came to a halt on Wednesday, March 13, when the Republican-led Ohio Senate passed legislation to ban abortion once a fetal heartbeat is detected–which can be as early as six weeks into pregnancy. (That’s before most women know that they’re pregnant.) There are no rape or incest exceptions.

According to The Cincinnati Enquirer, the so-called “heartbeat bill” is expected to pass the Ohio House of Representatives and Republican Gov. Mike DeWine is already making promises to sign the bill into law.

“We need a new standard,” the bill’s sponsor, State Senator Kristina Roegner said in a statement. “The heartbeat bill provides a sensible solution.”

Ohio may soon have one of the most restrictive abortion laws in the country. 

Ohio’s former Republican Gov. John Kasich vetoed two similar bills to the “heartbeat bill” in both 2016 and 2018 before signing other restrictive anti-abortion measures into law, including a law that bans dilation and evacuation.

Both Elania Ramsey, the executive director of Ohio Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice, and Emilia Sykes, the Minority Leader of the Ohio House of Representation, have voiced their opinions on the bill, referring to its passing as “shameful,” “unconstitutional,” and a major “blow” to Ohio women.

Doctors are also speaking out in support of women’s rights.

“Every situation truly is unique and every time I think that I’ve heard it all, I have a patient come in and just surprise me by the circumstances of her needing care,” Sarah Horvath, MD, told The New York Times.

“If they weren’t intending to become pregnant or taking pregnancy tests routinely, most would have no idea they’re pregnant at that point,” Dr. Horvath added.

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