By Marc Kovac
Gov. John Kasich has signed into law a ban on late-term abortions, banning the procedure about 20 weeks after conception.
Kasich was joined by Republican Rep. Kristina Roegner, the Akron-area Republican who sponsored the bill, and representatives of Ohio Right to Life during a private signing ceremony Tuesday. House Bill 78 will take effect in 90 days.
“By signing this critical pro-life legislation, Governor Kasich demonstrated to all Ohioans that the health and welfare of mothers and their unborn children are of paramount importance to the state of Ohio,” Mike Gonidakis, executive director for Ohio Right to Life, said in a released statement afterward. “According to the Department of Health, an abortion took place in Ohio last year when the baby was 35 weeks old. From now on, these babies and their mothers will be protected.”
HB 78 will block abortions in cases where an unborn child could survive outside of the womb, except in cases where the mother’s life is in danger.
A similar attempt by state lawmakers in the 1990s to ban late-term abortions was found to be unconstitutional; proponents believe the new law addresses the constitutional issues raised by the courts and will survive future legal challenges.
HB 78 is less restrictive than another bill passed by the Ohio House that would ban abortions within weeks of conception — the so-called heartbeat abortion bill, which would block the procedure as soon as a fetal heartbeat is detected.
That legislation is awaiting action by the Ohio Senate, which chose to move quickly on House Bill 78 before breaking for the summer recess.
Most Democratic lawmakers are not supporting either bill.
“Putting HB 78 into law will have a chilling effect on women’s reproductive health care in Ohio,” Rep. Nickie Antonio, a Democrat from the Cleveland area, said in a released statement. “This law is a legislative overreach which could possibly put women’s lives in danger.”