The Republican Party is well-known for introducing bills that chip away at the constitutional rights of women. In recent years, the Texas GOP passed a law (that was later overturned) forcing many of the state's abortion clinics to close. In Florida and quite a few other states, legislators passed laws that require women to have invasive, unnecessary ultrasounds before they can obtain an abortion. In Indiana, Mike Pence signed a ridiculous bill into law that requires fetuses be buried. Now Ohio lawmakers have joined in the war against women when they passed the "Heartbeat Bill," one of the most stringent anti-abortion bills in the country.
On Tuesday, State Sen. Kris Jordan asked that provisions from the "Heartbeat Bill" be added to House Bill 493, a bill that streamlines the way medical professionals report child abuse and neglect. The Senate then voted 20-11 to add the amendment and after it was passed, they voted on the entire bill, passing it 21-10.
"We are a pro-life caucus...," Jordan said in a statement. "The passage of this legislation in the Ohio Senate demonstrates our commitment to protecting the children of Ohio at every stage of life."
The decision to tack the heartbeat amendment onto a child abuse bill ultimately led to most of the Democrats in the legislature voting against it. Democratic Sen. Charleta Tavares told CNN that Republicans "bastardized" a good bill meant to protect living, breathing children in order to push their anti-women's rights agenda:
"I believe everyone has a right to their own body," Tavares said. "We allowed a good bill that protects the health and safety of our children to be bastardized into a government takeover of women's wombs."
After the Senate approved the bill, it was sent back to the House and passed 56-39.
By passing the fetal heartbeat provision, Republicans in the state have essentially outlawed abortion. According to the American Pregnancy Association most women find out that they are pregnant between four to seven weeks. This leaves a very small window open to terminate the pregnancy if they choose. What's worse is that the bill will allow women to have an abortion after the heartbeat is detected if their lives are in danger but does not allow exceptions for rape, incest or fetal abnormalities. Furthermore, the bill contradicts the ruling the Supreme Court's Roe v. Wade ruling by putting restrictions on abortion before the fetus is viable outside of the womb.
The bill now awaits Governor John Kasich's signature but it is unclear whether or not he will sign it as he has expressed concerns about the constitutionality of the provision. Hopefully, he does the right thing and saves not only women from this assault on their rights, but taxpayers the enormous expense of defending this bill in court.