Ohio Governor Mike DeWine signed the so-called “Heartbeat Abortion” bill into law on Thursday afternoon. Lawsuits challenging the legislation are already being prepared by the ACLU.
Senate Bill 23 bans abortions once a fetal heartbeat is detected. The legislation offers no exceptions to the abortion ban in cases of rape or incest, and some exceptions if the health of the mother is in danger. The bill passed through the Ohio Congress along party lines, with Republicans controlling both the Ohio House and Ohio Senate.
Under the new law, medical professionals could face up to a year in prison if they perform an abortion, according to Cincinnati.com.
The ACLU of Ohio sent out a Tweet around noon on Thursday, saying they would file a lawsuit against the bill. “We will be filing a lawsuit challenging SB 23 – the unconstitutional total abortion ban,” the Tweet read.
Ohio Rep. Janine Boyd, a Democrat from Cleveland Heights, tried several times to delay the passage of the legislation. Boyd was the lead Democrat on the House Health panel, which debated the bill.
“This is the most restrictive abortion ban in the country, and a prime example of extreme, partisan lawmaking at its worst,” said Boyd. “This unvetted, rushed legislation will have serious unintended consequences down the road for Ohio women, children and families.”
Ohio will become the sixth state in the nation to pass “Heartbeat” abortion legislation, joining Arkansas, North Carolina, Iowa, Kentucky and Mississippi. Courts have struck down the legislation in Iowa and North Carolina.
“Sometimes, the evolution of the law requires bold steps. In the last 46 years, the practice of medicine has changed. Science has changed. Even the point of viability has changed. Only the law has lagged behind. This law provides a stable, objective standard to guide the courts,” Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost said in a statement.
Ohio Republicans have largely been celebrating the passage of the bill through the Ohio Congress. Middletown’s Rep. Candice Keller said the legislation is a moral issue. Keller is the executive director of an anti-abortion crisis pregnancy center.
“This is not a Democratic or Republican issue. This is not a religious issue. This is an issue of humanity and morality,” she told cleveland.com
Former Ohio Governor John Kasich vetoed similar legislation twice during his tenure. He said he did not believe it would survive a legal challenge. He said he did not want to cost Ohio taxpayer dollars on a measure he knew would fail.
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