Ohio legislatures have passed what is being called a “Heartbeat Bill,” which bans abortions as soon as the heartbeat of the fetus can be heard. This is generally detectable around six weeks into the pregnancy, despite the fact that many women don’t learn that they are pregnant until eight weeks in, after they’ve missed two periods.
Even if they find out before six weeks, Ohio women will likely still be incapable of getting an abortion done due to the scarcity of clinics available in the state, as well as restrictive state laws that force women to take a consultation appointment, then wait at least 24 hours between the appointment and the procedure itself.
“We are a pro-life caucus,” wrote Republican state Senator Kris Jordan in a statement. “The passage of this legislation in the Ohio Senate demonstrates our commitment to protecting the children of Ohio at every stage of life.”
Global studies have consistently shown that outlawing abortion does not lower abortion rates, but it does often result in more fatalities from desperate women seeking illegal medical assistance.
Anti-choice Governor John Kasich is expected to sign the bill into law within the next 10 days.
Under the bill, Ohio doctors who still perform abortions after six weeks will be charged with a fifth degree felony. Abortions are permitted if the health of the mother is at risk, but are still forbidden in cases of rape or incest. The bill also gives a vaguely narrow definition of contraceptives which could result in preventing women from being able to access the morning-after pill.
The American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio (ACLU) wrote that the bill “could actually result in more unwanted pregnancies and consequently, more abortions.”
The ACLU has previously said that they plan to challenge the bill in court if Kasich signs it into law.