U.S. governor signs foetal heartbeat law, setting stage for legal challenges

Ohio becomes the latest state with a heartbeat abortion ban, but will likely face legal challenges

That makes OH the sixth state in the nation to attempt to outlaw abortions at the point a fetal heartbeat can be detected.

The six-week abortion ban known as the "heartbeat bill" is now law in Ohio.

During a conversation I had with local state Rep. Glenn Holmes, D-Girard, back in December (that was when a previous attempt at this bill's passage was blocked by veto of previous Gov. John Kasich), Holmes said he feared the heartbeat bill's far-reaching abortion bans would be used specifically to set off court challenges ultimately to test Roe v. Wade.

'It is our duty, I believe, and an essential function of government, to protect those who can not protect themselves'. "Government's role should be to protect life from the beginning to the end, to protect those who can not protect themselves, such as the elderly, the unborn, those who are sick, those who have mental illness or have an addiction", DeWine said at a mid-afternoon signing ceremony at the Ohio Statehouse April 11.

Republicans even rejected amendments to the bill that would've made exceptions for women whose physical or mental health is at risk, fetal abnormality and medical complications, and pregnancies as the result of rape or incest.

Similar laws in Kentucky and Iowa have been struck down by federal courts, but anti-abortion groups such as Ohio Right To Life are not dissuaded.

"Heartbeat" bills have passed the legislature in Missouri, Ohio, and Tennessee and have been introduced in Florida, Illinois, Louisiana, Maryland, Minnesota, New York, Georgia, South Carolina, and West Virginia.

As soon as DeWine signed the OH bill into law, the state's chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) announced that they will be challenging it in court.

Named the "Human Rights Protection Act", the law bans abortions as early as five weeks, and is one of the most restrictive bills in the country.

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But DeWine defended Ohio Republicans" decision to push the boundaries of the law, because "it is the right thing to do'.

Opponents called the bill "unconstitutional" and said it will be challenged in court.

Schneller said she is skeptical the reconfigured court will overturn or weaken Roe, as abortion foes are hoping: "Over 45 years, the court has had different compositions, and we've always gotten the same answer".

The group plans to sue on behalf of Pre-Term Cleveland, Planned Parenthood of Greater Ohio, Planned Parenthood of Southwest Ohio and the Women's Med Center of Dayton.

Kemp said this week that he plans to sign the bill by May 10.

The Ohio Senate originally passed the bill last month. The state of Texas allows capital punishment for homicide, which means if a woman gets an abortion, she is subjected to the death penalty.

(Fred Squillante/The Columbus Dispatch via AP) Gov. Mike DeWine signs a bill imposing one of the nation's toughest abortion restrictions, April 11, 2019 in Columbus, Ohio. Many anti-abortion activists in favor of these bills have expressed that the ultimate goal is to overturn Roe v. Wade and make abortion entirely illegal.

OH has passed a law making it illegal to procure an abortion after six weeks gestation.

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