In the wake of an Iowa judge striking down a bill that would greatly restrict abortions if a fetal heartbeat was detected, new Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine pledged to sign a so-called “heartbeat” bill in his state, adding that it would ultimately be up to the Supreme Court to decide on the legislation.
Known as one of the strictest laws passed in the nation regarding abortions, the Iowa law was deemed unconstitutional by Judge Michael Huppert on Jan. 22.
In his decision the chief district judge in Polk County cited a previous Supreme Court ruling: “A woman’s right to decide whether or not to terminate a pregnancy is a fundamental right under the Iowa Constitution, and that any governmental limits on that right are to be analyzed using strict scrutiny.”
But DeWine believes the Supreme Court will have to revisit the issue if the legislation lands on his desk. He also acknowledged that as soon as he signed such a bill, pro-abortion groups like Planned Parenthood would file a legal challenge.
The law in Iowa was challenged by the group, leading to the judge’s decision this week.
When asked by radio host Hugh Hewitt on Wednesday if he would sign the bill, DeWine responded, “Yes, absolutely.”
“We will do this. I just saw the headline, a court struck down another heartbeat bill for another state. But ultimately, Hugh, you and I both know that this thing once it’s passed in Ohio, once we sign it, once it becomes law, Planned Parenthood is going to be in the next day, or that day, filing a lawsuit,” DeWine added.
“But ultimately, this will work its way up to the United States Supreme Court. And they’ll make that decision.”
With a recently minted conservative majority, the Supreme Court could rule in favor of pro-life legislation.
The costs of a legal challenge were cited as the reason that outgoing Ohio Gov. John Kasich vetoed a “heartbeat” bill in December.
“As governor, I have worked hard to strengthen Ohio’s protections for the sanctity of human life, and I have a deep respect for my fellow members of the pro-life community and their ongoing efforts in defense of unborn life,” Kasich said in a statement on Dec. 21 following the veto.
“However, the central provision of Sub. H.B. 258, that an abortion cannot be performed if a heartbeat has been detected in the unborn child, is contrary to the Supreme Court of the United States’ current rulings on abortion. Because the lower federal courts are bound to follow the U.S. Supreme Court’s precedents on abortion, [the law] will likely be struck down as unconstitutional.”
Republicans attempted to override Kasich’s veto and succeeded in the Ohio House but fell one vote shy in the Ohio Senate.
Republican state Rep. Candice Keller previously said that the bill would save 20,000 babies from being aborted every year in the state.
Like the law in Iowa, it would have required physicians to test for a fetal heartbeat if a woman came to them seeking an abortion. The Ohio legislation also would have required a physician to meet with the pregnant woman seeking an abortion at least 24 hours before the procedure to “give her an adequate opportunity to ask questions about the abortion.”
While some states move toward restricting abortions, others are moving in the opposite direction. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed on Jan. 23 legislation that allows mothers to abort their unborn child up until birth if her life, or health, is at stake.
Both President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence have been public about their support for abortion restrictions and pro-life groups.
On Jan. 18, Pence addressed the more than 100,000 Americans who attended the annual March for Life event: “Know that you have an unwavering ally in this vice president, in our family, and you have a champion in the president of the United States of America.”
“We gather here today because we know we still have much work to do,” he added. “We urge you to stand strong. Stand with that love and compassion as you stand for life, and know that we will stand with you until that great day comes where we restore the sanctity of life to the center of American law.”
From NTD News