Ohio lawmakers on Tuesday passed a controversial “Heartbeat Bill” that would ban abortions in that state from the moment the heartbeat of a fetus can be detected — which usually occurs about six weeks into a pregnancy.
On Tuesday, the Ohio Legislature sent the bill to Kasich’s desk after a day filled with legislative maneuvering.
Earlier in the day, state Sen. Kris Jordan, a Republican from Ostrander, called for an amendment that added provisions from the House-sponsored “Heartbeat Bill” to another measure, House Bill 493, that sought to streamline the process in which medical professionals report child abuse situations.
“We are a pro-life caucus…,” Jordan said in a statement. “The passage of this legislation in the Ohio Senate demonstrates our commitment to protecting the children of Ohio at every stage of life.”
The Senate voted twice: First, they approved 20-11 the decision to tack on the “Heartbeat Bill” language onto House Bill 493. After the amendment passed, the state senators passed the bill with a 21-10 vote that largely went along party lines.
Ohio state Sen. Charleta Tavares, a Columbus Democrat, had planned on voting for the child abuse bill as originally presented, but ultimately voted against it because she opposed the “Heartbeat Bill” amendment and change in language.
“I believe everyone has a right to their own body,” Tavares told CNN. “We allowed a good bill that protects the health and safety of our children to be bastardized into a government takeover of women’s wombs.”
After the bill went back the House, state representatives easily approved the revised bill 56-39 on Tuesday night. It now goes to Kasich for his signature.
Donald Trump’s election, and a presumption that he’ll appoint conservative Supreme Court justices, spurred Ohio Republicans to pass what would effectively be the nation’s strictest time-based abortion law, a legislator said.
What happens next for the bill, which would prohibit such abortions even in cases of rape or incest, depends on Republican Gov. John Kasich, who has 10 days to decide whether to veto the legislation.
State legislators had considered the bill in previous years but it never passed the Senate.