Republican lawmakers in Ohio on Thursday advanced a bill that would ban abortion as soon as the fetal heartbeat can be detected, as early as six weeks into a pregnancy.
H.B. 248, the so-called "Heartbeat bill," advanced out of the House Health and Aging Committee by a party-line vote of 11 to 6. If it passes the Republican-controlled House and Senate, doctors who perform abortions after the imposed limit would face a fifth-degree felony. Opponents warn the bill would ban abortions before some women even realize they're pregnant.
“The members of the Health Committee are so callous that they refused to add amendments to provide exceptions for victims of rape and incest or to remove criminal penalties that could be used to imprison doctors that provide abortion care," said Kellie Copeland, executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio. "The chilling effect of this crusade is being felt throughout the medical community and will no doubt result in talented physicians leaving Ohio to practice in other states.”
HB 248 would essentially eliminate abortion in Ohio, and the anti-choice nutjobs in the Ohio GOP have been trying to muscle this bill through now for two years. The only reason it's not law is because the bill is even too extreme for some Ohio Republicans, who fear that an inevitable court battle over the bill would actually tell America the truth about the "pro-life" movement: that its goal is to eliminate safe and legal abortions in the US and return women back to the days of back alleys and black markets to get them.
The bad press might finally clue working-class white women in to the fact that the GOP wants to regulate them like chattel. Wouldn't go so well for them in 2016 and they know it, especially if they, you know, need Ohio in order to win the White House. Most of all it would blow a giant hole in John Kasich's 2016 plans. If he signs the bill, he's done for as a moderate, and if he vetoes it, frankly there's enough Republicans in the Ohio State House to override it and he gets both sides angry at him.
So will this bill pass the Ohio House and Senate? We're about to find out, and pretty quickly.