"Heartbeat Bill" Abortion Ban Passes Senate With Legal Challenge Expected

Mar 13, 2019

The Ohio Senate has passed the so-called “Heartbeat Bill,” SB23, which bans an abortion when a viable heartbeat is detected, which can be as early as six weeks. 

Pro-choice groups have said if the “Heartbeat Bill” is signed into law, they plan to challenge it in court. This would likely result in a pricey court battle that could go all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Republican Senate President Larry Obhof says lawmakers don’t shy away from issues just because of the threat of litigation.

“There are examples on this issue here in Ohio where the legislature has been bold and has taken a stand and ultimately, while we would’ve expected there to be litigation at some point, we came out victorious,” says Obhof, who points to a ruling this week where a federal court sided with Ohio on defunding Planned Parenthood.

Opponents say this bill infringes on women’s rights and health.

“The six-week abortion ban is unconscionable,” says Sen. Nickie Antonio (D-Lakewood). “This extreme bill is dangerous to the health, safety, and livelihood of women and threatens to criminalize doctors. This bill is unconstitutional and millions of Ohio taxpayer dollars will eventually be spent defending it in court. Ohioans sent us here to fix roads and help them put food on the table, not intrude into a woman’s private medical decision.”

The bill now goes to the Ohio House where it has passed in several recent General Assemblies. Gov. Mike DeWine has said he supports the bill as well.