Ohio Gov. John Kasich Vetoes The Controversial ‘Heartbeat Bill,’ But Signs One That Bans Abortion After 20 Weeks

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Two different abortion bills slid over to Ohio Governor John Kasich on Tuesday. He vetoed one — the extreme, so-called Heartbeat Bill that would have banned the procedure (with few exceptions) after a fetus develops a detectable heartbeat. This can happen at as early as six weeks of gestation, when many women don’t even realize they’re pregnant yet. Kasich’s reason for the veto was one of constitutionality, as the current composition of the Supreme Court doesn’t bode well for such a law’s survival.

The Ohio legislature can still override Kasich’s veto with a three-fifths majority of each chamber, if they want to take that gamble. As for Kasich, his unyielding quest to defund planned parenthood leads one to believe that he would have been perfectly happy signing this Heartbeat Bill if he thought it would survive. Indeed, he explained his desire to avoid litigation:

“The State of Ohio will be the losing party in that lawsuit and, as the losing party, the State of Ohio will be forced to pay hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars to cover the legal fees for the pro-choice activists’ lawyers. Therefore, this veto is in the public interest.”

So, he’s settling for a consolation prize instead. Kasich signed away (without any noted hesitation) on a bill that bans abortions after 20 weeks, which is a restriction also held in 15 other states (with two others that have tried but been blocked from enforcing the bans). This new law is based on the notion that fetuses can register pain at that point. Ohio legislators have already removed exceptions for rape and incest from the ban, although danger to the mother’s life would remain an allowed exception after five months.

Clearly, the state of abortion laws will continue to be one hot legal subject, even more so than for the past 40 years, once Donald Trump takes office. Many speculate that he’ll nominate Supreme Court justices who will actively work to overturn Roe v. Wade or, at the very least, be much friendlier towards restricting access to abortion than the current crop of justices. Trump’s morphing stance on abortion currently places him in the pro-life camp, and he’s held that view for at least a year, so we’ll see what happens.

(Via CBS News)