Ohio Heartbeat Ban: Ohio Revives War on Women, Proving GOP Has Learned Nothing

Anti-choice advocates in the Ohio state legislature have revived last year’s “Heartbeat Abortion Ban,” an extreme piece of legislation that would ban all abortions after an embryonic heart beat can be detected — i.e. as early as six weeks, before many women even know that they are pregnant. The law includes no exceptions for women who are victims of rape or incest, or for the mental health of the women.

The bill was stalled last year. Faith groups and legislators promised to compromise this time around. Apparently, by “compromise” they meant “make it even more extreme.” If passed, HB 125 would be the most restrictive ban on abortion in the nation, surpassing Arizona’s recent ban on abortions after 18 weeks that is currently blocked by 9th Circuit.

The law is intended to be unconstitutional. Faith 2 Action, a Ohio anti-abortion group, hopes that a challenge to this law will tee up a challenge to Roe v. Wade in the U.S. Supreme Court.

However, if the law goes in to effect, doctors will have to wait until a woman is in mortal danger before they can perform an abortion. As the world saw in Ireland, the logic of a fetal heartbeat ban will cause women to die while they wait for their doctors to perform necessary medical procedures.

Apparently, Ohio Republicans learned nothing from this month’s election results. Exit polls showed that 56% of Ohioans thought that abortion should be legal in most cases. Across the country we saw Republicans that came out in favor of exception-less bans on abortion (Todd Akin, Richard Mourdock, Joe Walsh) lose their races to more pro-choice candidates.

Ohio Republicans want to keep up the war on women with a law that would require doctors to wait until a woman is in mortal danger to perform an abortion. America has rejected the war on women. So should they.

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Alison Tanner

Alison is a recent graduate of the University of California - Davis, where she studied political science and women's studies and served the student body as an ASUCD Senator. She is currently a legal assistant for the ACLU's Reproductive Freedom Project. Views expressed here are her own.

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