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Ohio may adopt the most restrictive abortion law in the country

Dr. Elizabeth Yuko is the Health Editor at SheKnows. She is a bioethicist and writer specializing in sexual and reproductive health and the intersection of bioethics and popular culture. She is an adjunct professor of ethics at Fordham ...

Ohio bill would prohibit abortions after a fetal heartbeat is detected

In case you were wondering how the election results would impact women’s access to reproductive health, Republican leadership in Ohio has sent a clear message.

After years of trying, the controversial “Heartbeat Bill” – which would outlaw abortions from the minute a heartbeat of a fetus is detectable — passed in the Ohio House of Representatives with a vote of 56 to 39 and has now been sent to Republican Gov. John Kasich for approval. The bill had previously passed in the Ohio State Senate by a 21 to 10 vote, along party lines.

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So why, after the bill was deemed unconstitutional by members of both parties, is it gaining traction now? What could be the very orange, very shouty reason?

According to Ohio Senate President, Republican Keith Faber, following the election “there was a consensus in our caucus to move forward.” He previously wasn’t optimistic about passing the bill because of the inevitable constitutional challenges, but thinks it has better chance of passing now. Since, you know, limiting women’s reproductive rights is now more acceptable.

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If the Heartbeat Bill passes, Ohio would have the most restrictive abortion legislation in the country. The heartbeat of a fetus is typically detectable after around six weeks of gestation. To put that in perspective, currently, the states with the strictest abortion laws prohibit the procedure after 20 weeks.

As if that wasn't scary enough, the bill would also outlaw abortions after a heartbeat is detected in cases of rape or incest.

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Earlier this year, Kasich told CNN that he considered himself “pro-life with the exceptions of rape, incest and the life of the mother.” He has the next 10 days to decide whether or not that’s still the case.

Full disclosure: The author is the niece of Ohio State Senator Kenny Yuko (D-Richmond Heights).

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