The Columbus Dispatch reports that the Ohio House Health and Aging Committee passed an abortion ban that would ban the procedure whenever a fetal heartbeat is detected — as early as six weeks into a pregnancy. The bill contains language to account for situations that would endanger a pregnant woman’s life, but makes no exception for rape or incest victims.
House Bill 248, the so-called heartbeat bill, would outlaw abortions as early as six weeks into pregnancy. Supporters want to use the bill to initiate an immediate court challenge that, they hope, would lead to the U.S. Supreme Court overturning its 1973 Roe v. Wade decision.
The bill is similar to a ban passed by the Ohio House in 2011 — bills so extreme that even some anti-abortion legislators and groups are concerned that it would be damaging to existing abortion restrictions, should it become law — and then inevitably make it into the courts, where it and other measures might be struck down. Ohio Right to Life opposed the previous bill and has remained neutral on this one.
Nonetheless, the bill’s sponsors were so intent on passing it that they went so far as to reorganize the committee to ensure passage, as well as limiting testimony and time for consideration:
Before the morning hearing, some Republicans expected to vote no were replaced with members who support the legislation…
Opponents complained that the bill had only one hearing, and that testimony was limited to three hours, preventing some witnesses from addressing the committee.
Reactions were predictably mixed. Supporter and Ohio State Representative Matt Lynch (R) took to Twitter to encourage his followers to pray for the bill’s continued success.
Heartbeat Bill passed in Health Committee, now pray it is voted on House Floor
— Matt Lynch (@MattLynch4Ohio) November 20, 2014
On the other side, Democratic State Representative John Patrick Carney noted:
“Time and again, the people who do the work of delivering babies and taking care of women who are pregnant are saying this is bad… This committee certainly makes it seem like medicine and science is our enemy.”
As if religious fundamentalists would ever let things like science get in the way of belief…
The bill still has ways to go before becoming law, but it just got past the first hurdle.
(Image via Shutterstock. Thanks to Jim for the link)