On Tuesday, the Ohio legislature passed the “heartbeat” bill which would prevent women from obtaining abortions at six weeks, or around the time a fetal heartbeat can be detected. Unfortunately, most women do not know that they are even pregnant around this time, making this bill a direct attack on Ohio women’s right to choose.
Governor John Kasich will need to sign this bill before it becomes law–and, according to The Washington Post, he has mentioned that he is concerned about potential legal challenges to the law, since women have the right to abortion up to “viability,” which is typically about 24 weeks. NBC News reports that Ohio House of Representative members are also proposing a flat out ban on abortion at 20 weeks, with the support of anti-abortion group Ohio Right to Life. This law is a direct challenge to Roe v. Wade, as it bans abortions well before viability.
With such a blatant violation of established law, it seems that pro-life groups are hoping that these laws result in legal challenges, giving them an opportunity to once again bring abortion rights before the Supreme Court. Ohio lawmakers are feeling empowered by the prospects of President-Elect Donald Trump’s appointments on the Supreme Court, since he has said that he would ensure to make pro-life appointments to the Court to replace conservative Justice Antonin Scalia.
Abortion rights advocates in Ohio, such as NARAL Pro-Choice, are working to prevent these bans; yet, uncertainty remains, since, on the campaign trail Governor Kasich spoke out against abortion bans, but he has demonstrated support for the pro-life cause in the past. In any case, pro-choice advocates must remain vigilant in light of the recent attacks on abortion in recent years.
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