The Ohio House of Representatives has passed an abortion bill that would ban abortions after the first fetal heartbeat is detected, according to The Associated Press.
The piece of legislation is called the “heartbeat bill.” It was passed 59-35 in the House and will move on to the Ohio Senate.
It means that the ban on abortions could apply to mothers as early as six weeks into their pregnancy.
Gov. John Kasich vetoed a bill in December 2016, and he contended that it was unconstitutional, AP reported. He signed a 20-week abortion ban at the same time.
“It gives a more consistent and reliable marker for the courts to use to determine the validity of a human baby,” said Rep. Christina Hagan (R-Alliance), who is a bill sponsor, the Columbus Dispatch reported.
“We know that when a heartbeat stops,” she added, “we’ve lost a human life.”
“The point is, it’s time. It doesn’t matter if the governor is with us or against us,” Hagan told the paper. Gov-elect Mike DeWine, Ohio’s Republican attorney general, who is slated to take office in a few months, said he would sign such a “heartbeat” bill.”
Kasich has said he would veto such a bill again, News5 reported.
“Abortion is an assault on the family. Abortion is an assault on Ohio because it destroys the hearts and minds of women,” state Rep. Candice Keller (R-Middletown) to the Dayton Daily News. The bill, she said, would save 20,000 lives every year.
“There’s not a word about it in the Constitution,” Keller said, referring to the U.S. Supreme Court’s 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling, reported Cleveland.com.
The bill has been strongly opposed by many Democrats and groups like Planned Parenthood and NARAL Pro-Choice, the Daily News reported.
The Daily News reported that in 2017, there were 20,893 induced abortions in Ohio, which is a 1 percent increase from 2016. Of those abortions, more than 11,000 were performed at nine weeks or less and 6,084 at between nine and 12 weeks.