Ohio’s legislature has sent a pair of pro-life bills to Republican Gov. John Kasich, who has threatened to veto one but hasn’t taken a public stand on the other.
The state House passed a bill by a vote of 53-32 Friday that would prohibit abortions if a heartbeat were detected. It passed the Senate, 18-13 on Wednesday.
The Senate had changed the bill to allow an abdominal ultrasound, which is less intrusive than a transvaginal ultrasound. Abdominal ultrasounds can detect an unborn baby’s heartbeat at around 12 weeks, while transvaginal ultrasounds can do so around six weeks, according to the Cleveland Plain Dealer.
“It’s my understanding a transvaginal ultrasound could possibly detect a heartbeat earlier than an external heartbeat detection method,” said state Sen. David Burke, according to the newspaper. He supported the change. “But we found that process is possibly intrusive. We wanted to protect the rights of women who didn’t wish to have that done to them because their doctor may be under the impression that that’s the only thing that bill allows.”
Kasich vetoed a similar bill in 2016, saying it would not survive a constitutional challenge. He was endorsed by Ohio Right to Life during his most recent election, which said he had restored a “culture of life” and had worked to defund Planned Parenthood. Ohio Right to Life also hailed his support for a late-term abortion ban.
Ohio legislators also sent Kasich a bill that would ban dilation and evacuation, an abortion procedure in which the unborn baby is pulled apart, limb by limb, with surgical instruments. It passed the House, 62-27, and the Senate, 23-9. It is not known if Kasich will sign it.
Kasich, who was ineligible to run for re-election due to term limits, is in his final days as governor. Governor-elect Mike DeWine, who will be inaugurated in January, has said he will sign the heartbeat bill.
Michael Foust is a freelance writer. Visit his blog, MichaelFoust.com.
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