The Ohio legislation commonly known as the “heartbeat bill” was passed by the state Senate this week. The latest victory was met with both relief and ambivalence as many called attention to the likelihood that Gov. John Kasich will veto the bill.
On Wednesday, the Senate voted 18-13 to pass the legislation, which would ban abortions once a fetal heartbeat is detected (around 6 or 7 weeks). According to the Akron Beacon Journal, four Senate Republicans joined all nine Democrats in the GOP-led legislature in opposing the bill.
The 18 “yes” votes came just short of the 20 votes required for a veto override. The two Republican senators who were absent for the initial vote could be in session for an override vote, though this would have to take place during Christmas week.
There is also a good chance the bill could resurface next session, where receive approval from newly elected pro-life Gov. Mike DeWine (R).
The heartbeat bill aside, Ohio Republicans are still likely to pass a bill this session banning dilation and evacuation, a produce typically administered between 13 and 24 weeks of pregnancy, the Beacon Journal reported. The bill has already received approval in the Senate, and it is expected to pass in the House Thursday.
Hope for pro-lifers
As Faithwire reported, the Ohio House passed the heartbeat bill last month with a vote of 60-35. Despite there being a high level of uncertainty over the bill’s viability as it makes its way through the legislature, pro-lifers are still viewing every small victory a major win.
Speaking about Gov. Kasich’s expected veto, Rep. Christina Hagan (R-Marlboro Township) explained why abortion can never be a matter of prudence.
“The point is: it’s time. It doesn’t matter if the governor is with us or against us,” Hagan told reporters as one of her newborn twins cried out. “Motherhood isn’t easy but it’s necessary.”
In 2016 Kasich, promptly vetoed an attempt to get the heartbeat legislation through both state houses. But on that occasion, Kasich had another bill, which banned abortion after 20 weeks, to fall back on.
“I agree with Ohio Right to Life and other leading, pro-life advocates that SB 127 (the 20-week abortion bill), is the best, most legally sound and sustainable approach to protecting the sanctity of human life,” Kasich said at the time, according to Dayton Daily News.
Now, however, with no alternative pro-life bill to soften the blow, Kasich is faced with a much sterner test.
Speaking to Cleveland.com last month, House Speaker Ryan Smith (R- Gallia County) suggested Kasich would likely “try to run out the clock on us,” delaying his veto to make it impossible for an override vote to be organized in time.