Yesterday, Ohio Governor John Kasich signed a bill prohibiting abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy. No, this is not the so-called “Heartbeat Bill,” which would have outlawed abortions after six weeks, but it is still a huge blow to reproductive rights and one of the first tangible effects of conservative lawmakers feeling emboldened by the results of November’s election.
Here are three things you need to know about the new law in Ohio:
1. There are no exceptions for rape or incest
2. 20-week abortion bans are unconstitutional and have been blocked from enforcement in two states
Federal judges have found that 20-week abortion bans are unconstitutional in Arizona and Idaho, and a lawsuit has recently been filed for the same reason in North Carolina. The current federal regulation on abortion, Roe v. Wade, established a right to abortion at points in the pregnancy before the fetus is externally viable. Generally, this is around 24 weeks.
3. The Heartbeat Bill may have existed just to make this 20-week ban seem reasonable
A common sentiment last night and this morning from some pro-abortion rights individuals has been “at least it’s not the six-week ban.” That is absolutely true. Banning abortions when many women don’t even know they’re pregnant was a terrible, dangerous idea. But that doesn’t — and shouldn’t — make the 20-week ban more palatable. Repeat after me: Kasich is not a reasonable, moderate Republican.