Ohio abortion bill heads to Senate

House Bill 258 will ban abortions if heartbeat is detected; faces potential veto

Photo courtesy of Ohiohouse.gov | Rep. Christina Hagan on the floor of the Ohio House of Representitve explaining her vote on House Bill 258. The bill aims to be one of the most restrictive in the country, banning abortions after a heartbeat is detected.

House Bill 258, better known as the “Ohio Heartbeat Bill,” passed the Ohio House 60-35 and now heads to the Ohio Senate. The bill would ban abortions the instant that a fetal heartbeat is detected by an ultra sound, which is typically around 6 weeks of pregnancy. This is based upon the conclusion that the instant you hear a heartbeat, a fetus is a person.

Junior Philosophy, Politics and the Public (PPP) major and Vice President of Xavier Democrats Trey Espinosa explained what the bill means to him.

“It is so important that people know what this ‘Heartbeat Bill’ does, Espinosa said. “It bans abortions in Ohio after the sixth week of pregnancy. Most women don’t know they are pregnant by week six. This bill denies Ohio women their constitutional right, as decided by Roe v. Wade, to decide what is best for their bodies and lives.”

This bill is considered one of the more restrictive abortion bills in the country and could potentially challenge Roe v. Wade. Supporters of the bill in Ohio hope it will force top courts to take another look at that original Supreme Court decision, now that there is a conservative majority with Brett Kavanaugh.

Gov. John Kasich vetoed a similar bill back in December of 2016, but the bill resurfaced this year when State Reps. Christina Hagan (R-Marlboro Township) and Ron Hood (R-Ashville) proposed it. The Ohio House of Representatives passed the bill 60-35, Kasich is expected to veto the bill. GOP lawmakers believe there is the potential to override the veto. Due to the possible expensive legal challenges, it could stall the legislation for years.

“The Ohio Heartbeat bill is not (just) any piece of legislation it has the potential to save lives. Life is the right of all people not just the planned, privileged and abled to be treated with dignity and respect but most of all, love,” PPP major and Vice President of Xavier Republicans Lily Hutkowski said. “This bill will protect the most vulnerable in our society from a procedure that stops one heart and breaks another.”

Any doctor that performs an abortion after the heartbeat is detected could face a fifth-degree penalty, which may ultimately result in up to a year in prison. There is no clause for instances that include rape or incest unless the pregnancy is jeopardizing the women’s life.

Espinosa believes that this legislation “says to women, ‘we don’t believe you are capable of making decisions, so we’ll make them for you.’”

North Dakota passed a similar Heartbeat Bill back in 2013 but was later overturned by a federal judge. According to the Cincinnati Enquirer, the defense of this law cost the state of North Dakota $491,061 in legal fees. North Dakota and Ohio are two of nine states that have made attempts to have this bill pass.

According to the Pew Research Center, 58 percent of Americans say abortion should be legal in all or most cases against 37 percent say it should be illegal in all or most cases. Approximately 59 percent of Republicans believe that abortion should be illegal, whereas 76 percent of Democrats believe it should be legal.

President of the Ohio Senate Larry Obhof has stated that the senate will have the required 60 votes to override a potential Kasich veto. However, some state senators are unsure if they would be willing to vote yes on overriding a veto.

By: Gillen Faenza | Staff Writer