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Ohio Statehouse Puts Controversial Heartbeat Bill On Hold

photo of Heartbeat Bill protestors
Heartbeat Bill supporters gathered outside during President Trump's recent visit to Columbus.

A controversial bill that would ban abortion at the point a fetal heartbeat is detected has been put on hold. The so-called “Heartbeat Bill,” which Gov. John Kasich promises to veto, had been likely to come up for a vote today.

The head of the Ohio Senate committee considering the Heartbeat Bill, Dave Burke, says lawmakers need to consider last minute amendments so the committee vote has been delayed. But he says this bill is still viable and could come back either as a stand-alone bill or part of another. 

“My job is to get this bill through committee and I will be back next week to do just that.”

But this delay is important because Kasich is promising to veto the bill, just like he did a similar bill two years ago. Kasich has ten days to do that. It could end up that lawmakers, who say they have the votes to override the bill, would not be able to reconvene enough members over the holidays.

But Jaime Miracle with NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio says she’s still concerned.

“This isn’t the only unconstitutional abortion bill this legislature is still considering.”

Miracle says lawmakers could end up passing a ban on abortion at 12 weeks into a pregnancy or a bill that requires burial or cremation of fetal remains, either as stand-alone bills or as part of what’s known as a Christmas tree bill – a piece of legislation that’s adorned with a lot of other bills and passed in one swoop. And in past years, those bills have proven popular in the lame duck legislature.

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.