By Marc Kovac
Republicans in the Ohio House announced plans Thursday to introduce a revamped Heartbeat Bill, nearly nine months after the initial legislation was scrapped by the GOP- controlled Ohio Senate.
More than three dozen majority party members have already signed onto the new legislation, which would ban abortions within weeks of conception, whenever a fetal heartbeat is identified.
“There should be protection for a child at the point of a fetal heartbeat,” said Rep. Christina Hagan, R-Alliance. “Where the fetal heartbeat is detected, the child should be protected.”
She added, “It’s a new general assembly, and we’re ready to start the fire again, and we’re ready for battle for what we believe is most important in this world, and that is life.”
Democrats and abortion rights advocates quickly criticized the move, calling it a continuation of an “anti-woman agenda” that has already included controversial abortion-related measures included in the recently enacted biennial budget.
And they said the bill wouldn’t withstand legal challenges.
“If Gov. Kasich signs this bill into law, the state will waste hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of dollars defending it in court,” Kellie Copeland, executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio, said in a statement. “Wouldn’t those funds be better spent on programs to prevent unintended pregnancies, decrease pregnancy complications and increase access to prenatal care? Gov. Kasich and the legislature need to stop interfering in the personal, private medical decisions of Ohio women, and instead work to increase access to quality health care.”
State Rep. Kathleen Clyde, D-Kent, added in a statement, “This bill would insert GOP lawmakers between a woman, her family and her doctor and take away women’s ability to control their own bodies. These extremist attacks on Ohio women are outrageous and must come to an end.”