Ohio lawmakers likely just dealt another blow to abortion rights in the state.
Just days after the state legislature passed a bill banning abortion after a fetal heartbeat is detected, state lawmakers voted late on Thursday to ban abortion after 20 weeks, CNN reported. (Currently, the state bans abortions when the fetus is considering viable outside the womb, usually around 24 weeks.) Both bills will now hit the desk of Ohio Governor John Kasich, who’s signed some of the strictest abortion restrictions in the country into law during his tenure. Kasich has not yet said whether he’d sign either bill.
The bill includes some exceptions to protect a woman’s life and health, according to the Associated Press. But an amendment to add exceptions in cases of rape and incest failed to pass. Republican representative Ron Hood said that children conceived because of sexual assault shouldn’t be punished, according to AP.
“It’s not about the babies, it’s about the attack on women,” Democratic State Representative Teresa Fedor, who opposed the bill, said, according to CNN.
The 20-week ban likely has a better chance of becoming law, considering 17 other states have similar statues on the books. But Kasich has expressed concerned about the “heartbeat bill,” which some anti-abortion rights groups also oppose, in the past. In 2014, he said he was worried that the bill wouldn’t hold up in court, according to the Cleveland Plain Dealer. “It’s a long way till it comes to my desk,” Kasich said in 2014.
But the election of Donald Trump, who has indicated a pro-abortion rights stance in the past but said throughout the 2016 campaign that he opposed abortion rights and would appoint anti-abortion rights Supreme Court justices, seemed to speed up the process.
“One, a new President, new Supreme Court justice appointees change the dynamic, and that there was a consensus in our caucus to move forward,” Ohio Senate President Keith Faber, a Republican, said, per CNN. “I think it has a better chance than it did before.”