(Ohio) – A complex battle has been underway for nearly ten years over a proposal to restrict abortion, commonly known as the ‘heartbeat bill.’
Women have taken center stage time and time again to testify about abortions they had and why it was right for them or the children they chose to keep instead. The landmark abortion access case, Roe v. Wade has been laid out on the table over and over as arguments ensue over whether it should be overturned or kept intact.
Religious foundations, medical professionals, hospitals, clinics, pro-life and pro-choice advocates have all had their voices heard.
Again, and again.
And now, as momentum continues to build on either side of the aisle, the Ohio Senate made a historic move on Wednesday to pass the heartbeat bill as it stands. The votes came in 19-13 in favor of the bill, Senate Bill 23.
So what’s in the legislation?
- Doctors who performed abortions after fetal heartbeats were detected could face a fifth-degree felony charge, punishable by up to a year in prison and a $2,500 fine.
- The bill has no exception for rape or incest.
Former Representative, Christina Hagan, who continues to be a strong advocate for passage of the bill took to social media with comments after testifying for the bill last month.
“I can’t tell you how many times I have held the hand of a woman frightened or convinced into having an abortion and left devastated by the loss of her child and the scars on her heart.
These moments, their words, the untold stories of precious children who will never be here to make their mark will forever be a part of who I am.
I will carry their banner everywhere I go because every person deserves a voice and every heart deserves to beat.”
The bill makes it illegal to have or perform an abortion after the first fetal heartbeat is detected, which can happen as early as nine to 10 weeks gestation using an abdominal ultrasound.
Former GOP Governor, John Kasich vetoed a heartbeat abortion ban twice, but current Gov. Mike DeWine has stated he will sign it.
Proponents of the Bill
Those in favor of the bill note the government has a responsibility to protect unborn children, arguments that the unborn child has rights too, and that the bill could help overturn the infamous case, Roe V. Wade.
The 1973 U.S. Supreme Court case affirmed that access to safe and legal abortion is a constitutional right.
Opponents of the Bill
Those against passage of the bill argue that doctors shouldn’t’ face criminal penalties for performing abortions. They note that medical professionals should have the ability to advise their patients about medical options without facing charges. Opponents also argue the bill is unconstitutional and strips women from their rights. They note defending the unconstitutional bill would also be done so using taxpayer dollars and could effectively ban all abortions in Ohio.
Meanwhile, work continues as it relates to babies ‘born alive.’ Lawmakers recently passed a bipartisan resolution, 32-0 encouraging Congress to take action to approve the ‘Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act.’ This proposal would penalize doctors who don’t perform medical care for a child born alive after an attempted abortion.