Ohio becomes the sixth state in America to ban abortion at 6 weeks after Governor Mark DeWine signed into law on April 11, 2019 the “Human Rights Protection Act” SB 23, also known as the “heartbeat law.”
Under the heartbeat law, abortion is illegal once a fetal heartbeat is detected, around six weeks of conception, reports World Religion News. The law will be implemented after 90 days if not blocked by a federal judge.
I just want to make it very, very clear, our concern is not just for the unborn, our concern is for all individuals who need protection. —Ohio Governor Mark DeWine
Ohio’s divided politics slowed the progress of the bill. Ohio was the first state to propose the fetal heartbeat bill, but Mississippi, Kentucky, Iowa, and North Dakota were the ones which previously passed it into law.
SB 23 is considered one of the most stringent abortion laws in the United States since it prohibits abortion early in the pregnancy, even before a woman knows she is with child. The law has a few exceptions to save a woman’s life, but it makes no exceptions for pregnancies resulting from rape or incest.
DeWine defended SB 23 as a law that protects life, especially those who are vulnerable and those without a voice. He said, “it is the right thing to do,” reports The Guardian.
“Taking this action really is a kind of a time-honored tradition, the constitutional tradition of making a good faith argument for modification or reversal of existing legal precedents,” DeWine said.
He explained that, “I just want to make it very, very clear, our concern is not just for the unborn, our concern is for all individuals who need protection.”
Ohio Right to Life lauded DeWine’s move. Mike Gonidakis, president of the pro-life group, said, “While other states embrace radical legislation to legalize abortion on demand through the ninth month of pregnancy, Ohio has drawn a line and continues to advance protections for unborn babies.”
However, some pro-choice groups criticized Ohio lawmakers and the governor for putting the life of women and their families at risk.
Democratic National Committee CEO Seema Nanda claimed that, it is “the latest example of how the Trump administration’s extremist, anti-women policies have emboldened legislators across the country to attack women’s access to healthcare.”
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) in Ohio announced it will file a case against the law. The group claimed that SB 23 bans all abortion care and contradicts the Constitution of the country.