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Heartbeat Bill Passes

Statehouse News Bureau

A controversial bill that bans abortion at the point a fetal heartbeat can be detected is on its way to Governor John Kasich. 

The Ohio House passed the bill overnight with changes made by the Senate by a margin of 53 votes to 32. Ohio Public Radio's Jo Ingles reports.


It was almost 1:30 in the morning when the House approved a change to the bill made by the Senate, saying transvaginal or internal ultrasounds, which can detect a fetal heartbeat as early as six weeks into a pregnancy, are no longer required. Other ultrasounds can detect a heartbeat at 10 weeks. The changes didn’t dissuade the majority of House members who passed the legislation. Republican Representative Christina Hagan, sponsor of the bill, agreed with the senate’s changes.


It is to ensure that the doctor has the means to choose which methodology they prefer in that scenario and by no means does this bill in any way dictate what that might be.”


Opponents of the bill, which doesn’t allow exemptions for rape or incest victims, say it is unconstitutional. Democratic Representative Emilia Sykes read from a letter given to her by a woman who a result of rape and incest at the age of 13.


If you had looked at a 13-year-old me in the eyes and told me that I should be forced to give birth, I would have taken every pill in my Mother’s medicine cabinet and kill myself rather than to have a permanent physical scar to remind me.”


Kasich is promising to veto the bill and if that happens, lawmakers will have to come back during the week between Christmas and New Year’s to vote to override the veto - needing 60 votes in the House and 20 in the Senate. Two years ago, a similar scenario played out. Lawmakers didn’t override the veto then, but legislative leaders say they think they’ll have the votes to do it this time around.

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