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Controversial "Heartbeat Bill" Passes Ohio House

photo of Christina Hagan
The bill's sponsor Christina Hagan (R-Alliance) testified for the legislation with her baby twins.

The Ohio House has approved by a vote of 59 to 35 a controversial bill that bans abortion at the point which a fetal heartbeat can be detected.

Republican Christina Hagan of Alliance is a sponsor of what is called the “heartbeat bill.” She testified for it while wearing her twin infants in a sling across her chest.

“Motherhood isn’t easy but it’s necessary. It’s the reason every one of us are here today. It’s the reason every one of us have a living, beating heart," she said.

The bill bans abortion as early as six weeks into a pregnancy, with no exceptions for rape, incest or health of the woman. Two other states have passed similar bans, and even some abortion opponents, like Ohio Right to Life, have questioned the constitutionality of the measures.

The bill passed two years ago but Gov. John Kasich, who has signed 20 bills restricting abortion during his eight years in office, vetoed it. The bill did not pass this time by a veto-proof margin, but if new lawmakers bring it up again once they are seated in January, incoming Gov. Mike DeWine has said he supports the ban.

Jo Ingles is a professional journalist who covers politics and Ohio government for the Ohio Public Radio and Television for the Ohio Public Radio and Television Statehouse News Bureau. She reports on issues of importance to Ohioans including education, legislation, politics, and life and death issues such as capital punishment. Jo started her career in Louisville, Kentucky in the mid 80’s when she helped produce a televised presidential debate for ABC News, worked for a creative services company and served as a general assignment report for a commercial radio station. In 1989, she returned back to her native Ohio to work at the WOSU Stations in Columbus where she began a long resume in public radio.