Terra Goodnight · March 2, 2015
Ohio lawmakers are about to consider a bill to outlaw abortions at the first sign of a detectable heartbeat — as early as six weeks of pregnancy, before many women even know they are pregnant.
It’s worth noting that the bill was not assigned to the chamber’s Health and Aging committee, led by Chairwoman Anne Gonzales and the committee where most abortion-related bills are heard. GOP leaders instead assigned HB69, which regulates medical procedures, to the newly-formed committee the Speaker had said would focus on access to employment and educational opportunities.
Was the GOP’s male committee chairman simply more willing to take on controversial legislation restricting women’s healthcare options than Gonzales? We can’t help but wonder.
Only North Dakota has enacted a ban this early in pregnancy, and it was quickly overturned by a federal judge. Arkansas passed a law banning abortions six weeks after a detectable heartbeat – around 12 weeks of pregnancy – and it, too, was ruled unconstitutional by a judge. Both states have appealed and the matter is pending before the 8th Circuit.
These court fights appear to be the main point behind the proposal, which all agree is inconsistent with Roe vs. Wade. Anti-abortion activists hope the US Supreme Court will take up the ban and use it as an excuse to overturn Roe.
Fifty Ohio lawmakers have signed on as sponsors of HB69.
Tagged in these Policy Areas: Gender Equity