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‘Heartbeat Bill’ passes in Ohio Senate, to head back to House

The Ohio Senate passed the controversial “heartbeat bill” Wednesday. The bill would ban abortions when a fetal heartbeat is detected. 

Members of the Senate, however, amended the original bill Wednesday to give women more time to legally receive an abortion than what was previously in the bill, according to

Previously, the Ohio House bill prohibited abortions as early as six weeks when a heartbeat could be detected while having a transvaginal ultrasound. Senators amended that bill to clarify that a transvaginal ultrasound wouldn’t be required, and other forms of heartbeat detection technology could be used. That change results in women having more time to decide. In abdominal ultrasounds, for example, heartbeats are detected at about 12 weeks.

Additionally, Senate made an amendment that would allow the State Medical Board of Ohio “to call an emergency meeting after a physician is accused of performing an abortion after a heartbeat is detectable. At the meeting they could determine whether to suspend or revoke her license. Normally, the board would have to wait for a criminal conviction,” reported. 

“This is the holiday message the General Assembly is sending to Ohio women: regardless of whether you can mentally or physically carry a pregnancy to term and regardless of whether a fetus was conceived through rape or incest, we don’t trust you and you are still ‘chattel.’ We don’t trust that you have the capacity to make decisions that are in the best interest of your family, body, health or well-being,” Sen. Charleta B. Tavares ,D-Columbus, said in a news release. “Our male-dominated legislature continues to actively pursue policies which restrict a woman’s right to reproductive care, while simultaneously ignoring a man’s role in conception and childcare after birth.”

The bill does not make exceptions for cases of rape or incest. 

“When do we believe that life begins?" Sen. Jay Hottinger, R-Newark, said to the Cincinnati Enquirer. "That’s what the abortion debate always centers around. All of us draw the line someplace.” 

The bill will now head back to the Ohio House to be voted on again since changes were made. The bill then would go to Republican Gov. John Kasich for approval. Kasich vetoed a similar ban in 2016, and said previously he would veto this one as well. But, it’s unclear what he will do given the changes. 

The bill did not get enough votes to override a veto should it come, since the vote passed 18-13. 


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