Some Ohio University students have expressed concern regarding the exclusion of rape and incest cases in a new “heartbeat bill” that was reintroduced in the Ohio Legislature.
The bill, which was introduced by Sen. Kristina Roegner (R-Hudson), Rep. Candice Keller (R-Hocking) and Rep. Ron Hood (R-Butler), would ban abortions once a fetal heartbeat is detected. That can be as early as six weeks into the pregnancy — before many women know they’re pregnant. It would also not exclude cases of rape and incest, which has become a concern for many college students.
“College students couldn’t afford (raising a child) — especially current students,” said Asia Sam, a sophomore studying communication.
Sam said she doesn’t agree with the propositions included in the bill, and it’s likely that if a student were to become pregnant from rape, they would not return to school.
Former Ohio Sen. Joe Schiavoni said he has heard several concerns from college women about the possible responsibility of carrying a child conceived through rape.
“There was testimony in the last General Assembly from rape victims and victims of human trafficking,” Schiavoni said. “So, it goes all the way from date rape from human trafficking.”
Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine, however, said in January that he would sign the bill if it ends up on his desk.
“He believes that one of the primary purposes of government is to protect the most vulnerable in our society and that the unborn would certainly meet that definition,” Dan Tierney, a press secretary for DeWine, said.
Schiavoni said Republicans have been anxious to reintroduce the bills in 2019 because of DeWine’s willingness to sign it.
“This is one of many bills that have been past in the last couple of years that would limit the woman’s right to choose and would get closer to this whole challenge in potential overturning of Roe v. Wade,” Schiavoni said.
Though the subject of abortion stirs emotion for many, there are still students who aren’t sure how to feel.
“I’m torn between the two sides,” Brook Gaydosh, a sophomore studying finance and marketing, said. “I was raised Catholic, and it’s a big part of our religion. But I’m also a student who isn’t sure if I would want to keep the child in the case of rape.”
The bill would be among the most in the country. Exceptions for performing abortions under the legislation proposal include preventing the death of the pregnant woman or to prevent a serious risk of “substantial and irreversible impairment of a major bodily function of the pregnant woman.”
Ohio is one of 11 states to introduce similar legislation. Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant has vowed to also sign a heartbeat abortion bill that was passed Wednesday.