On Wednesday, Ohio lawmakers passed the "heartbeat bill," a piece of legislation that would ban abortions in the Buckeye State as soon as a fetus' heartbeat can be detected. The heartbeat is typically detectable around the sixth week of pregnancy, but many women are unaware they're pregnant until about the eighth week, when they have likely missed two periods.
If passed, the measure would "effectively be the nation's strictest time-based abortion law," CNN reported. The bill does not offer exceptions, even in instances of incest or rape. Ohio Gov. John Kasich (R) — who has articulated a strong pro-life stance — will now have 10 days to either veto the bill or sign it into law.
Though the bill has been considered before and rejected by the Senate, Ohio legislators said this seemed like the right time to raise it again. "A new president [and] new Supreme Court justice appointees change the dynamic, and ... there was a consensus in our caucus to move forward," said Ohio Senate President Keith Faber, explaining the timing. He noted he thinks the bill "has a better chance than it did before."
The American Civil Liberties Union has already vowed to challenge the law if it is passed. Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown (D) said Wednesday he believes the bill has "been shown to be unconstitutional."