"Ho, ho, hey, hey, Roe v. Wade is here to stay." That's what opponents of the so-called "Heartbeat Bill" chanted on the steps leading into the Ohio Statehouse. The activists said the bill would deny legal abortion before many women know they are pregnant.
Opponents of the bill that would ban abortion after a fetal heartbeat is detected rallied outside the Ohio Statehouse while supporters testified for it in an Ohio Senate committee.
Ohio State medical student Erika Reese talked about a woman she met named Anna, who had to decide whether to abort the fetus that was unlikely to survive or complete her pregnancy with people asking painful questions. “Those 20 weeks would result in Anna having to go through an impossibly hard labor to deliver a stillborn. This sentence being handed down to our fellow sisters is both cruel and unusual," Reese said.
Reese was one of many women who spoke to the crowd outside the state's capitol, explaining why they thought the bill was a bad idea. NARAL Pro Choice Ohio, Women Have Options, Planned Parenthood and others who oppose the legislation say it would make abortion more dangerous. They contend abortion, albiet dangerous and expensive, would still exist, just like it did in the days before the landmark Roe v. Wade ruling. Abortion rights activists say the decision to abort a pregnancy belongs to the pregnant woman and her doctor, not the government.
Supporters of the bill, including Faith 2 Action and some other groups that oppose legal abortion, have been trying to pass the bill since 2011. Ironically, the bill does not have the backing of Ohio's largest anti-abortion group, Ohio Right to Life. That group has not endorsed the bill due to questions about its constitutionality.
Similar bills have been passed in other states, only to have them later struck down in court. Back in 2016, a similar "heartbeat bill" passed during the lame duck session of the 131st Ohio General Assembly but Gov. John Kasich vetoed it. And lawmakers did not come back to override that veto.
This bill could go to the Senate floor for a vote later this week. Kasich is promising he’ll veto it, just as he did two years ago. But lawmakers insist they’ll have the votes this time to override a possible veto.