Reproductive rights in Ohio were dealt a heavy blow by the passage of a statewide abortion restriction on Tuesday. A last-minute add-on to House Bill 493, or the "heartbeat bill," bans abortions once a fetus' heartbeat can be detected, about six weeks into the pregnancy. An exception is made in the case of "serious risk of the substantial and irreversible impairment of a major bodily function of the pregnant woman." Otherwise, the bill stands to make Ohio one of the strictest states when it comes to reproductive rights, and there are different ways you can protest this bill.
Anti-abortion lawmakers in Ohio were encouraged by Donald Trump's promise to appoint a pro-life Supreme Court justice, and Governor John Kasich, who is anti-abortion, is largely expected to sign the bill into law over the next few days. However, there is still a chance the "heartbeat bill" can be defeated. According to Ohio law, Kasich can line-item veto HB 493. And considering the bill makes no exceptions for cases of rape or incest (provisions that Kasich has voiced support for in the past), his veto could be a possibility.
Here are some actions you can take now to help make sure the "heartbeat bill" does not become law:
Call Governor Kasich
This page on the Ohio governor's website has a contact form and listed mailing address you can use to send him a written message. The real gold, however, is his phone number: (614) 466-3555. Calling is one of the most effective ways to get the attention of your elected officials.
If you find these effective abortion bans troubling, say so in as many places as you can. Raising awareness not only of this potential law but also of its ramifications within your personal or social media circles can be powerful. Who knows whom you can inspire to take action themselves?
Support Local Reproductive Rights Advocates
Despite the passage of these measures, there are many people who worked hard to fight it, even when the "heartbeat bill" wasn't making national headlines. And they will continue if Kasich does sign it. Show your support for organizations like NARAL Pro-Choice Idaho and ACLU of Ohio, which has already committed to suing if Kasich signs the bill into law. And remember that support comes in many forms. If you can, consider donating, holding a fundraiser or, if you live in Ohio, volunteering.
These are just a few ways to protest the heartbeat bill. Even though it's being considered in Ohio, it represents a potential threat on reproductive rights nationwide.