Ohio just took a terrifying step towards banning abortion.
Last night, Ohio’s House and Senate passed a “heartbeat bill” that would ban abortions as soon as a fetal heartbeat can be detected, six weeks after conception. This was added as a last-minute amendment to an unrelated child abuse bill and has no exceptions for rape or incest. Physicians who provide abortions after six weeks would face a year in prison.
If Gov. John Kasich signs the bill into law, it will be the most extreme restriction on abortions in the United States.
Kasich has opposed the “heartbeat bill” in the past, but has also made his anti-abortion views pretty clear. We wouldn’t be surprised if he signs it.
“After years of passing anti-abortion laws under the guise of protecting women’s health and safety, they lay bare their true motives: to ban abortion in the state of Ohio,” Dawn Laguens, a spokesperson for the Planned Parenthood Action Fund, told the Huffington Post.
Republicans told the Columbus Dispatch that they felt emboldened to pass the bill because Donald Trump has said he will appoint anti-choice judges to the Supreme Court. Previous attempts to pass the bill failed because of fears that it would be ruled unconstitutional.
“A new president, new Supreme Court appointees change the dynamic, and there was consensus in our caucus to move forward,” said Senate President Keith Faber, R-Celina. “I think it has a better chance than it did before.”
Janet Porter, president of Faith2Action, who has advocated for the bill, told the Dispatch, “it’s a brand-new day with a Trump-appointed Supreme Court and we are very hopeful … we will see babies with beating hearts protected again.”
A voice of reason, Ohio Democratic Women’s Caucus Chair Kathy DiCristofaro, told the Dispatch, “this bill — which was tacked on as a last-minute amendment to a child abuse prevention bill — makes no exceptions for rape or incest victims. It is cruel and plainly unconstitutional — but it seems like Ohio Republicans don’t care about the Constitution. Trump’s vision for America is already alive and well in the Buckeye State.”
Six weeks is one missed period — before many women even know they’re pregnant. Add in the time it takes to schedule an abortion; get time off work approved; travel to a city where you can have an abortion; and find the money to pay for an abortion, gas, a hotel stay, and other expenses — and you’re requiring women to know that they’re pregnant almost immediately.
Trump hasn’t taken office yet — and already women are losing their reproductive rights. It’s already happening.
We need to stop this from happening.
Top photo: 1977 pro-choice march in New York
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