One of the first big pieces of legislation Gov. Mike DeWine signed was an abortion ban. But he said it’s only part of an overall agenda he’s pushing.
DeWine signed the six-abortion ban known as the "Heartbeat Bill" just a few months after taking office. But DeWine said he was always clear during the 2018 campaign that he supported it and would sign it - which could explain why it moved through the legislature so quickly, after being proposed repeatedly since 2011.
"This was a bill that was certainly a bill that I wanted to sign. I'm proud I signed it," DeWine said in an interview for "The State of Ohio".
Ohio made headlines with a recent proposal to ban abortion with the death penalty as a possibility for doctors and women. It also has no exceptions for rape or incest, could ban some popular forms of birth control, and could require an as-of-now-impossible procedure to implant an ectopic pregnancy into a woman's uterus - an idea from a previous bill that would outlaw private insurers from offering coverage for abortion. It has 23 sponsors in the House, all Republicans.
But DeWine said people shouldn’t look at this total abortion ban and view the state as extreme.
“I don't think people will, not if look at what we're doing. This is a pro-life administration. But I want to define pro-life," DeWine said.
He said that includes focusing on prenatal care and lowering what he calls "unacceptable" infant and maternal death rates. One of his first proposals was to dramatically increase a program that visits new mothers and infants.
DeWine won't say if he’d sign the total abortion ban if it passes. But he has said - and continues to say - that he wants to wait till abortion laws now in the courts work their way through.
“We need to wait and see what happens in the in the United States Supreme Court before we do anything else," DeWine said.