John Kasich's Heartbeat Bill Comments Hint It Won't Pass — But Don't Breathe A Sigh Of Relief Yet

By Caroline Burke
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On Wednesday, the Ohio Senate moved forward with a "heartbeat" bill that would ban abortions at the first sign of the fetus' heartbeat — which could be as early as six weeks. If the bill is ultimately approved, Ohio will become the first state to ban abortions for fetal cardiac activity. But there is a significant roadblock in the way of this happening: Ohio Governor John Kasich's heartbeat bill comments reveal he's not on board with it, partially because it could be challenged as unconstitutional.

According to The Daily Beast, Kasich said that he would veto the bill if it landed on his desk. In fact, he's already vetoed this bill once before in 2016, according to The Cincinnati Enquirer, arguing that it's "clearly contrary to the Supreme Court of the United States’ current rulings on abortion.”

Unfortunately, as convincing as that statement may be, it won't necessarily keep the heartbeat bill from being approved in the long run. The Cincinnati Enquirer reports that Kasich will have 10 days to consider the bill before he has to approve or veto it. If he does veto it, Ohio legislature can hold a "veto override" vote shortly after to push the bill forward.

Additionally, Ohio legislature could wait for Governor-elect Mike DeWine to enter office next year. At a gubernatorial debate, DeWine said, via The Cincinnati Enquirer, "I will sign the bill. I have said that many times."

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Regardless, the bill is an extreme measure, and a threat to women's reproductive rights, for more than one reason. First, many women don't even know that they're pregnant at six weeks. This means that some women would lose the right to a legal abortion procedure before they even know they're pregnant.

Additionally, the bill offers no exceptions for survivors of rape or incest, according to The Daily Beast. There isn't even an exception to save the life of the pregnant woman, according to Slate.

Jocelyn Rosnick, policy director for the ACLU of Ohio, said in a statement via The Daily Beast, "[It's] a total abortion ban. Yes, they’re packaging it as ‘six weeks,’ but in reality, most women don’t even know they’re pregnant at that time, and it will be impossible for them to access abortion when they find out."

Though Kasich opposed the six-week ban, it's worth noting that he did sign a 20-week abortion ban back in 2016, followed by a Down syndrome abortion ban in 2017.

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In a statement in 2016 via The Dayton Daily News, Kasich said, “I agree with Ohio Right to Life and other leading, pro-life advocates that SB 127 [the 20-week abortion ban] is the best, most legally sound and sustainable approach to protecting the sanctity of human life."

Though Ohio is largely considered to be a purple voting state, it has slowly gained a reputation to be extremely conservative with reproductive rights legislation. Slate notes that Ohio isn't the only state considering the heartbeat bill in legislature, either: Texas and Indiana have both proposed the same bill in their state senates, only to have the bills be blocked later in court.