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OH bans abortion after six weeks gestation following foetal heartbeat bill

OH bans abortion after six weeks gestation following foetal heartbeat bill

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine on Thursday (April 12) signed into law a bill protecting unborn babies from abortion from the moment they have a detectable heartbeat, usually around six weeks of gestation. Former Gov. John Kasich, also a Republican, vetoed the measure twice, most recently past year.

"The essential function of government is to protect the most vulnerable among us, those who do not have a voice", DeWine said during the signing ceremony at the Statehouse in Columbus.

State Rep. Christina Hagan, a Republican who sponsored the bill, previously told reporters that lawmakers drafted the legislation in direct opposition to Roe v. Wade: "Our intention is to go directly to the heart of Roe v. Wade and to challenge the question of when a life begins in the United States and when [unborn babies'] constitutional protection is due to them". The law includes a provision allowing abortions to save the life of the mother, but it does not allow abortions in the case of rape or incest. Similar fetal laws have been passed in North Dakota, Arkansas, Kentucky, Iowa and MS, but they all have been ruled unconstitutional when challenged in court.

Abortion advocates, including the ACLU of OH, have vowed to challenge the legislation. The ban takes effect after the detection of a fetal heartbeat and in many cases, happens before a woman even knows she's pregnant. It's already been blocked by federal courts, and either could still be appealed to the Supreme Court.

Opponents called the bill "unconstitutional" and said it will be challenged in court. "And we've talked a lot about the 95% of the time that we are going to agree, maybe not on the direction, maybe not what we want to do as a state but 95% of the time, we are going to be out there working on things that....you know jobs packages, education issues....things like that....and the 5% that are issues that are volatile issues that Republicans and Democrats traditionally don't agree upon, we can't dwell on those issues", Householder said. Meanwhile, this legal fight will cost OH taxpayers millions of dollars.

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The group plans to sue on behalf of Pre-Term Cleveland, Planned Parenthood of Greater Ohio, Planned Parenthood of Southwest Ohio and the Women's Med Center of Dayton. Another bill in Georgia has yet to be signed by the governor.

The Ohio Senate originally passed the bill last month.

If a heartbeat is detected and the doctor still performs an abortion then he or she can be charged with a felony.

(Fred Squillante/The Columbus Dispatch via AP) Gov. Mike DeWine signs a bill imposing one of the nation's toughest abortion restrictions, April 11, 2019 in Columbus, Ohio.

The law will punish doctors and other practitioners who perform abortions after they detect a heartbeat or if they fail to perform an abdominal or transvaginal ultrasound to check for a heartbeat. Many anti-abortion activists in favor of these bills have expressed that the ultimate goal is to overturn Roe v. Wade and make abortion entirely illegal.