Ohio lawmakers will reintroduce a six-week abortion ban to criminalize the procedure as soon as a fetal heartbeat can be detected, which can occur before some women even realize they’re pregnant. The legislature considered an identical measure last year, but it was so controversial that Republican leaders in the state decided to drop it.
Nonetheless, the heartbeat ban is making a comeback. State Rep. Lynn Wachtmann (R), who’s previously sponsored the legislation, told the Associated Press that he plans to reintroduce it at a press conference on Thursday. Wachtmann acknowledged that the radical abortion bill has faced obstacles in the past — Ohio’s chapter of Right to Life was opposed to it — but he’s ready to try again. “I wouldn’t introduce a bill if I didn’t think it could be done,” he said.
According to Wachtmann, about 40 of the 99 Ohio House members have signed on to co-sponsor the heartbeat measure. Wachtmann and some of his fellow Republicans will announce the legislation at a banquet sponsored by the anti-choice group Faith2Action. At the same event, Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar — the stars of TLC’s reality show “19 Kids and Counting” — will also appear as speakers.
Fetal heartbeat bans gained momentum last year, when multiple different state legislatures began attempting to push six-week bans — despite the fact that this type of legislation directly contradicts Roe v. Wade, which guarantees the right to legal abortion services until the point of viability at about 23 or 24 weeks of pregnancy. So far, North Dakota is the only state that has successfully enacted one, giving that state the dubious distinction of being home to the strictest abortion law in the nation.
So far this year, Ohio has already been busy enacting stringent abortion restrictions. Anti-choice activists in the state recently celebrated Ohio’s “historic” move to restrict abortion access by passing a two-year budget that included several serious attacks on reproductive rights. Thanks to the abortion restrictions attached to the new budget, clinics in the state are already being forced to close their doors.