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DeWine: Proud To Sign "Heartbeat Bill" But Total Abortion Ban Can Wait

Gov. Mike DeWine (center), surrounded by anti-abortion activists and Lt. Gov. Jon Husted (right), talks to reporters after signing the "Heartbeat Bill" six-week abortion ban in April 2019.
Karen Kasler
Gov. Mike DeWine (center), surrounded by anti-abortion activists and Lt. Gov. Jon Husted (right), talks to reporters after signing the "Heartbeat Bill" six-week abortion ban in April 2019.

One of the first big pieces of legislation Gov. Mike DeWine signed was an abortion ban. But he said it’s only part of an overall agenda he’s pushing.

DeWine signed the six-abortion ban known as the "Heartbeat Bill" just a few months after taking office. But DeWine said he was always clear during the 2018 campaign that he supported it and would sign it - which could explain why it moved through the legislature so quickly, after being proposed repeatedly since 2011.

"This was a bill that was certainly a bill that I wanted to sign. I'm proud I signed it," DeWine said in an interview for "The State of Ohio".

At the time it was one of the strictest ones in the country, and is on hold in a court challenge.

Ohio made headlines with a recent proposal to ban abortion with the death penalty as a possibility for doctors and women. It also has no exceptions for rape or incest, could ban some popular forms of birth control, and could require an as-of-now-impossible procedure to implant an ectopic pregnancy into a woman's uterus - an idea from a previous bill that would outlaw private insurers from offering coverage for abortion. It has 23 sponsors in the House, all Republicans.

But DeWine said people shouldn’t look at this total abortion ban and view the state as extreme.

“I don't think people will, not if look at what we're doing. This is a pro-life administration. But I want to define pro-life," DeWine said.

He said that includes focusing on prenatal care and lowering what he calls "unacceptable" infant and maternal death rates. One of his first proposals was to dramatically increase a program that visits new mothers and infants.

DeWine won't say if he’d sign the total abortion ban if it passes. But he has said - and continues to say - that he wants to wait till abortion laws now in the courts work their way through.

“We need to wait and see what happens in the in the United States Supreme Court before we do anything else," DeWine said.

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

Karen is a lifelong Ohioan who has served as news director at WCBE-FM, assignment editor/overnight anchor at WBNS-TV, and afternoon drive anchor/assignment editor in WTAM-AM in Cleveland. In addition to her daily reporting for Ohio’s public radio stations, she’s reported for NPR, the BBC, ABC Radio News and other news outlets. She hosts and produces the Statehouse News Bureau’s weekly TV show “The State of Ohio”, which airs on PBS stations statewide. She’s also a frequent guest on WOSU TV’s “Columbus on the Record”, a regular panelist on “The Sound of Ideas” on ideastream in Cleveland, appeared on the inaugural edition of “Face the State” on WBNS-TV and occasionally reports for “PBS Newshour”. She’s often called to moderate debates, including the Columbus Metropolitan Club’s Issue 3/legal marijuana debate and its pre-primary mayoral debate, and the City Club of Cleveland’s US Senate debate in 2012.
Karen Kasler
Contact Karen at 614/578-6375 or at kkasler@statehousenews.org.
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