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Heartbeat Bill Abortion Ban Stalled And Its Future Is Uncertain

Supporters of Heartbeat Bill Outside Recent Trump Rally In Columbus
Karen Kasler
Supporters of Heartbeat Bill Outside Recent Trump Rally In Columbus

The so-called “Heartbeat Bill”, which Gov. John Kasich promises to veto, had been likely to come up for a vote today in an Ohio House committee. But there were too many questions about the controversial bill that would ban abortion at the point a fetal heartbeat is detected for it to proceed to a vote. 

The head of the Ohio Senate committee considering the Heartbeat Bill, Dave Burke, said lawmakers need to consider last minute amendments so they decided to delay passage of it. But he said this bill is still viable and could come back either as a stand-alone bill or part of another. 

"My job is to get this bill through committee and I will be back next week to do just that," Burke said.

This delay is important because Kasich is promising to veto the bill, just like he did a similar bill two years ago. Kasich has ten business days to do that. It could end up that lawmakers, who say they have the votes to override the bill, would not be able to reconvene enough members over the holidays. Ohio House Speaker Ryan Smith said he wasn't sure how many members of his chamber would be able to come back to deal with a veto override during the holidays but he noted two members said they'd come back to do it on Christmas Day if necessary.

Still, Jaime Miracle with NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio says she’s concerned. “This isn’t the only unconstitutional abortion bill this legislature is still considering," Miracle said.

Miracle says lawmakers could end up passing a ban on abortion at 12 weeks into a pregnancy or a bill that requires burial or cremation of fetal remain…either as stand-alone bills or as part of what’s known as a Christmas tree bill – a piece of legislation that’s adorned with a lot of other bills and passed in one swoop. And in past years, those bills have proven popular in the lame duck legislature.

Copyright 2020 The Statehouse News Bureau. To see more, visit The Statehouse News Bureau.

Jo Ingles is a professional journalist who covers politics and Ohio government for the Ohio Public Radio and Television for the Ohio Public Radio and Television Statehouse News Bureau. She reports on issues of importance to Ohioans including education, legislation, politics, and life and death issues such as capital punishment.