Ohio abortion 'heartbeat bill' returns to Legislature

COLUMBUS (AP) — Republican lawmakers in Ohio today proposed again one of the most restrictive abortion measures in the nation, and this time around, they have the governor's support.

New Republican Gov. Mike DeWine has indicated he would sign the so-called heartbeat bill twice vetoed by his GOP predecessor.

The measure would ban abortion once a fetal heartbeat is detected. That can be as early as six weeks into pregnancy, before many women know they're pregnant.

The GOP-led Ohio Legislature passed such a bill twice but didn't have enough votes to overcome vetoes in 2016 and 2018 by then-Gov. John Kasich, a Republican who signed 21 other abortion-limiting proposals into law.

Kasich said enacting the heartbeat bill would lead the state into a costly court battle and the measure would likely be struck down as unconstitutional.

Republican Reps. Ron Hood, of Ashville, and Candice Keller, of Middletown, said they filed the latest version of the bill today with 50 co-sponsors – a majority of the House. Their statement noted DeWine's support of the measure, which hasn't yet been given a number or assigned to a legislative committee.

Opponents of the bill have argued it is unconstitutional, with NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio calling it an unacceptable restriction on access to health care.

The American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology and the Ohio Medical Association also have opposed the heartbeat bill.

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