Ohio Abortion Legislation

April 3, 2019


One of the most heated debates in the nation is hitting close to home in Ohio.


Ohio legislators have once again introduced the Heartbeat Bill, sparking controversy both at the state and national level.


The Heartbeat Bill is legislation that would ban abortion at the time a fetal heartbeat is detected—often six weeks after conception, before many women know they’re pregnant.


The views of the general public on the Heartbeat Bill have been sharply divided. A study done by Baldwin Wallace University polled 1,361 adults in Ohio between March 1-15 found that overall 43 percent opposed the bill while 41 percent supported the bill. The other 16 percent were unsure on the matter.


On March 13, the Heartbeat Bill passed the Ohio Senate, leaving it in the hands of the Ohio House.


The Heartbeat Bill has been brought up in the Ohio legislature before.


Before being reintroduced this year, it had most recently been passed by both the Ohio Senate and House in November 2018. Then Governor John Kasich vetoed the bill, citing that he believed it would not hold up and be struck down as unconstitutional.


The Ohio Planned Parenthood chapter was one of the main voices to denounce the bill saying, “The early introduction of the SB 23, the unconstitutional six-week abortion ban, highlights the misguided and dangerous priorities of our state legislators.”


Recently, a similar bill also named the Heartbeat Bill was passed in Georgia, leading to both cheers of support and outcries of disapproval.


The passing of the bill in Georgia led to multiple Hollywood stars asking for the film industry to boycott by not choosing filming locations in Georgia. Over 100 actors signed a petition addressed to Georgia Governor Brian Kemp including Amy Schumer, Alec Baldwin and Judd Apatow.


As of early this week, it has yet to be seen what the governor will do in response to the petition.


However in Ohio, it appears that Governor Mike DeWine will sign the Heartbeat Bill, officially making it law.


When campaigning last fall, DeWine made it clear that if the bill was reintroduced, he would support and sign it.


While the bill is still currently in hearings in the Ohio House, many political analysts believe that it will eventually get the votes needed to pass.


University of Toledo students expressed differing views about abortion and the Heartbeat Bill.


Renny Worthington IV is a second-year student on campus who identifies as pro-choice. 


“Personally, I believe just because there is a heartbeat, [it] doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be able to abort a fetus.”


He also touched on what he thought about Planned Parenthood.


“I think that Planned Parenthood is a very useful resource for teens to young adults who are either looking to have a child or have accidentally become pregnant,” he said. “And it’s a very good medium for information and education on the subject of sex.”


On the other hand, a second-year student who wished to remain anonymous, but identifies as pro-life said, “It’s not the woman’s choice because it is not her life.”


“A lot of religious people will say that Jesus is the one who creates life and it is his choice if a baby dies or not,” said the student.


The student added, “I think it’s an interesting concept. I saw comments on an Instagram post about [the Heartbeat Bill] that said most people don’t know that they are pregnant by the time that the fetus has a heartbeat.”


As the bill awaits a vote from the Ohio House, the debate about abortion continues. 


Some organizations have said if the bill gets the votes needed and the governor signs it, they will file complaints questioning its constitutionality. 


Several other states including South Carolina, Florida, Missouri, Tennessee and Texas already introduced or are discussing introducing similar legislation sometime this year.

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