Ohio Considering New Abortion Ban

Taking inspiration from Texas and North Dakota, conservative Republican legislators in Ohio are planning on reintroducing a bill that would ban abortions after a fetal heartbeat is detected—effectively making abortion illegal after six weeks.

This is not the first attempt by the bill’s sponsor, Rep. Lynn Wachtmann, to destroy a woman’s right to choose; in 2011, he sponsored a fetal heartbeat bill that failed to pass the state Senate. This time, Wachtmann claims around 40 other members of the House have agreed to co-sponsor the bill, along with him and Rep. Christina Hagan. Even the bill were to pass the House, it could be blocked by the Senate, like in 2011.

Even without this bill, Ohio has extremely strict abortion restrictions. In June, Republican Gov. John Kasich signed H.B. 59, Ohio’s budget bill, which included anti-abortion measures that were added at the last minute, such as forcing women to have an ultrasound before having an abortion and prohibiting public hospitals from having transfer agreements with abortion clinics. In addition to these new restrictions, Ohio women have to undergo mandatory counseling and a 24-hour waiting period before getting an abortion, and minors can’t get abortions without parental consent. As a result of the bill, the last abortion clinic in Toledo will probably be forced to shut down.

If Wachtmann’s bill passes, Ohio will join North Dakota as the only states voting to ban abortion after six weeks. However, in July, North Dakota’s ban was temporarily blocked from going into effect by a district judge who called it “clearly invalid and unconstitutional based on the United States Supreme Court precedent in Roe V. Wade.”

Photo of pregnancy test device from Flickr user Jason Coleman under license from Creative Commons 2.0