4 Things To Know About Ohio's "Heartbeat" Bill To Help You Be Informed & Fight
On Tuesday night, Ohio lawmakers passed an anti-abortion bill that would effectively ban the procedure after six weeks of pregnancy. There are many things to know about Ohio's "Heartbeat Bill" that not only help contextualize it, but show it to be a far worse attack on women's rights than many previous anti-abortion bills. And that is saying a lot, considering the strong anti-abortion legislation that has been circulating throughout regions of the United States in the past few years. After all, this a country where nearly 400 anti-abortion bills were introduced in the year 2015 alone, according to the Guttmacher Institute. They did not necessarily all get passed and signed into law, and the "heartbeat" bill may not ultimately become law, either. The Ohio legislature is waiting for John Kasich to sign the Ohio "Heartbeat Bill," but he could still veto it and keep it from becoming law.
In the meantime, it's helpful to have a clear vision of the repercussions both women and health providers would face if the Ohio anti-abortion bill, officially known as HB 493, passed into law. Now more than ever, with the election of Donald Trump, it's crucial to stay informed and vigilant about defending not only the rights of women, but all whose liberties would be potentially threatened under a Trump administration. Here are a few of the key things you should know about the Ohio "Heartbeat Bill."
Most Women Don't Know They're Pregnant Until After Six Weeks
If Kasich signs the Ohio "Heartbeat Bill" into law, it will be nearly impossible for women to obtain abortions legally. The bill would make it illegal to get an abortion after the fetal heartbeat is recognized, which generally happens after six weeks. It takes time to miss a period and confirm a positive test. Even so, in the case that a woman caught her pregnancy early, she would have to score an appointment in time and live near one of the very few abortion clinics in Ohio.
The Bill Makes No Exceptions For Rape Victims
The legal tenets stated in the Ohio "Heartbeat Bill" make no exceptions for victims of rape or incest. This would mean that the only case in which a woman can get a legal abortion after the heartbeat is detected would be if her life was at risk. I believe that forcing a victim of rape to give birth is not only an infringement on human rights, but essentially punishes the victim.
Similar Bills Were Struck Down In North Dakota And Arkansas
Sadly, Ohio isn't the only U.S state trying to ban abortions. Similar legislation was put forth in Arkansas and North Dakota, and they were struck down by federal judges as "problematic and antithetical to well-established legal precedent pertaining to abortion," as Cleveland.com's Eric Heisig noted. Heisig added that, "The judges who ruled against Arkansas and North Dakota's laws were all appointed by Republicans, and the conservative-leaning U.S. Supreme Court also decided to leave the lower court's rulings in place and reinforce existing precedent."
The ACLU Has Already Promised To Sue Kasich
In the case that Kasich signs the Ohio "Heartbeat Bill" into law, which would effectively act as a stomp on abortion rights protected by Roe v. Wade, the ACLU has already promised to see him in court. The Chief lobbyist for the American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio, Gary Daniels, told Dayton Daily News, "We’re ready to sue. They have this theory that if they can get it into court perhaps a court will overturn Roe v. Wade.”
If you're feeling properly angry at the encroaching attack on women's reproductive rights that this bill would present, you can start by signing six petitions fighting the Ohio "Heartbeat Bill." Then go remind all the women in your life that you love them and will fight for them.