Health

Ohio Bans Abortion At 20 Weeks: No Rape, Incest Exception

| by Michael Allen

Republican Gov. John Kasich of Ohio vetoed a "Heartbeat Bill" that would have banned abortions at six weeks, but signed a bill that banned the legal medical procedure at 20 weeks on Dec. 13.

"I agree with Ohio Right to Life and other leading, pro-life advocates that Senate Bill 127 (the 20-week ban) is the best, most legally sound and sustainable approach to protecting the sanctity of human life," Kasich stated, notes The Columbus Dispatch.

There is no exception for rape or incest victims in the 20-week bill, which means they would have to bear their rapist's baby if they don't terminate their pregnancy sooner; there is an exception for when the mother's life is in danger.

Janet Porter, a Christian activist who has been pushing the "Heartbeat Bill" for years, scolded Kasich in a press release reported by Faith2Action:

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While Governor Kasich betrayed life, broke his pro-life promises, and turned his back on 20,000 babies whose heartbeats can be heard, the battle is NOT over. We are just two votes away from overriding his veto in the Ohio House.

Governor Kasich’s political career is over. We must now focus on those who want a future by voting to override Kasich’s betrayal and give babies with beating hearts a future.

Kasich called the "Heartbeat Bill" unconstitutional, and said it would have resulted in a costly losing battle before the U.S. Supreme Court, The Columbus Dispatch reports.

The current Ohio law bans abortions at 24 weeks, but does allow for exceptions in cases of the mother's life in danger, rape and incest.

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The bill that Kasich signed will go into effect in 90 days, and will make it a felony for a doctor to perform an abortion after 20 weeks. If a physician is found guilty, then he or she could go to jail for up to 18 months and lose their medical license.

The bill could be blocked with a court order if it is successfully challenged within the 90-day period.

Ohio Right to Life President Michael Gonidakis said: "The 20-week ban was nationally designed to be the vehicle to end abortion in America. It challenges the current national abortion standard and properly moves the legal needle from viability to the baby’s ability to feel pain."

However, NARAL Ohio Executive Director Kellie Copeland countered:

John Kasich is treating women’s health care like a game. He thinks that by vetoing one abortion ban Ohioans will not notice that he has signed another ... Once a woman has made the decision to end a pregnancy, she needs access to safe and legal abortion care in her community. Kasich’s actions today will fall hardest on low-income women, women of color, and young women.

Iris Harvey, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood Advocates of Ohio, added: "In his six years as governor, Kasich has systematically and incrementally enacted law after law to ban abortion in the state ... Women are tired of politicians telling us what to do with our bodies."

Sources: The Columbus Dispatch, Faith2Action / Photo credit: Michael Vadon/Flickr

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