The Ohio House has passed a bill which would make abortions after 6 weeks gestation punishable by fine and imprisonment and is considering another that could put violators at risk of capital punishment if passed.
The so-called heartbeat bill, which passed the House 60-35 and is headed to the Senate, prohibits abortion after a fetal heartbeat can be detected. In most cases, this is around 6 weeks gestation, often before women even know they are pregnant.
The bill leaves doctors who perform abortions after this period susceptible to felony charges, which carry sentences ranging from a $2,500 fine to one year in prison.
Another proposed bill, House Bill 565, which was introduced in March, takes the restrictions outlined in the heartbeat bill even further. HB 565, which is currently being considered by the House’s health committee, contains language that classifies fetuses as “unborn humans,” meaning if passed, women and doctors who are involved in abortions could be charged with murder, a crime punishable by the death penalty in Ohio.
Because as with many capital punishment cases, killing someone for killing makes total sense.
Perhaps worst of all? The heartbeat bill makes no exceptions for cases of rape or incest, meaning victims of such crimes would be forced to carry the pregnancies to term or face potential legal action, though there are exceptions when a woman’s life is at risk.
Governor John Kasich has vowed to veto the bill if it passes the Senate.
Critics of the heartbeat bill are calling it unconstitutional, claiming states cannot pass legislation that violates Roe v. Wade, and any attempts to do so would only lead to costly court battles, as evidenced by similar cases in other states, including Arkansas, Iowa, and North Dakota.
Regardless of whether or not the bills stand a chance of enactment, the very fact that they have been introduced, with one going so far as to pass the House, is a grim reminder for women everywhere that their bodily autonomy continues to face serious attacks from legislators, many of whom do not have uteri of their own and, presumably, don’t know their way around one anyhow.
This is some Margaret Atwood, Handmaid’s Tale-type dystopian nonsense right here.
As for the Senate vote on the heartbeat bill, President Larry Obhof, R-Medina, says he has not determined whether he will ask lawmakers to vote on it knowing Kasich will veto. Even with the governor’s veto, however, the House can override it with 60 votes, which the bill already garnered prior to being passed to the Senate. There is, of course, no guarantee that those who voted in favor of the bill the first time would cast the same vote a second time.
Fingers crossed, anyway.