COLUMBUS, Ohio — Abortion rights advocates will gather Tuesday at the Ohio Statehouse to protest the proposed Heartbeat Bill — which largely would ban abortion once a fetal heartbeat is detected — as an Ohio Senate committee takes up the legislation.
The Ohio House passed the bill in November.
A fetal heartbeat can be detected as early as six weeks into a pregnancy, in some cases, before a woman knows she is pregnant. The bill would ban abortion once an ultrasound picked up a heartbeat, except to prevent the mother from dying or being seriously impaired.
The statehouse sent a similar bill to Gov. John Kasich in 2016, but the governor vetoed the legislation. Kasich believed the measure would almost certainly be halted in court, as has been the case with other “heartbeat bills” passed in Arkansas, North Dakota and Iowa. Kasich did sign separate legislation banning abortions after 20 weeks.
But unlike the 2016 bill, the House now has the 60 votes needed to override Kasich’s veto, if it comes to that.
NARAL Pro Choice Ohio believes the bill would “would effectively outlaw abortion and criminalize physicians,” according to a news release.
If the bill becomes law, Ohio would become the fourth state to ban abortion once a fetal heartbeat is detected.
The protest is set to begin at noon Tuesday. Speakers include: Rabbi Jessica Shimberg, Sarah Huchinson Ratcliffe, Catholics for Choice and members of the Ohio Senate and House.