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The "heartbeat bill" makes abortions illegal as soon as the fetus' heartbeat can be detected, based on the conclusion that a human heartbeat is enough to indicate a person. Such six-week abortion ban is now law in Ohio and that makes Ohio the sixth state in the nation to attempt to outlaw abortions at the point a fetal heartbeat can be detected. It is to be noted that Ohio State first proposed the bill, but it was made into law in other states.
Gov. Mike DeWine signed the bill on April 11, 2019, only a day after it successfully managed to meander through the GOP dominant General Assembly. The law would take effect in 90 days, unless blocked by a federal judge.
The new bill does include a few exceptions to save a woman’s life, but it makes no exceptions for crimes like incest or rape. Gov. DeWine claimed it is the government’s role to protect life from its earliest stages to its end. Also, by the "heartbeat bill," the government protects those who do not have a voice and who are vulnerable.
"This legislation is blatantly unconstitutional and we will fight to the bitter end to ensure that this bill is permanently blocked. SB 23 is one of the most aggressive, oppressive, and radical attacks against women ever seen in this state and this country. A nearly identical bill in Kentucky was just struck down by a federal judge – we feel confident our impending litigation will ultimately prevail," said ACLU of Ohio legal director Freda Levenson in a statement.
The interesting thing is that in 1973 the Supreme Court gave all women the constitutional right to have an abortion before viability, and it was covered by Medicaid. Over the coming years, women's ability to decide for themselves on their pregnancy decreases. And in 2019, women are in a situation that they cannot get an abortion even if someone raped them. Instead of the rights of women to be greater, they are minimized by such laws.
As NPR reports, the bill institutes criminal penalties for doctors who violate the law. Doctors who perform abortions after detecting a heartbeat would face a fifth-degree felony and up to a year in prison. The legislation also allows the State Medical Board to take disciplinary actions against doctors found in violation and impose penalties of up to $20,000.
Legislators attempted several times before to pass the heartbeat bill, but the legislation was twice vetoed by former Gov. John Kasich, who warned it would prove costly for the state to defend in court.