Ohio "Heartbeat Bill" Attacks Roe V. Wade

A proposed Ohio law would make abortion illegal as soon as the fetus has a heartbeat — which can be as early as 18 days. Experts say it's a direct challenge to Roe v. Wade.

According to ABC, the bill was introduced yesterday and will likely pass the Republican-controlled Ohio legislature. It won't hold up in court, because it contradicts Roe v. Wade, which prohibits states from barring abortion before viability. But this may be precisely the point — constitutional scholar Laurence Tribe tells ABC, "What they're doing is trying to push the point at which the woman's rights are subordinated to those of the unborn to a much earlier point in pregnancy. ... It's clearly a frontal challenge to Roe v. Wade." Says one of the bill's authors, Janet Folger Porter of anti-abortion group Faith2Action,

We don't bury people with beating hearts, because the heartbeat is a sign of life. We are just applying that same measurement to this end of life and I believe the court is going to recognize — just like it does with life at the other end of the spectrum — it's going to recognize this line of life early on.

That last is a bold statement — and one even some anti-choicers disagree with. Michael Gonidakis, executive director of Ohio Right to Life, isn't supporting the bill. According to the Columbus Dispatch, he says, "Unfortunately, the court has ruled that states can place limitations on post-viability abortions, but pre-viability there can be zero restrictions." He says the current Supreme Court isn't likely to overturn Roe v. Wade, and "We certainly don't want the courts to reaffirm Roe with a decision in Ohio." Instead, Gonidakis's group supports banning abortions after 20 weeks. It's perhaps not surprising that some Ohio anti-choicers are taking a swipe at Roe — as ABC points out, recent months have seen mounting challenges to women's reproductive rights. We just hope Gonidakis is right that this one won't succeed.

Ohio Abortion Bill Poses Biggest Challenge To Roe V. Wade Yet [ABC]
Anti-Abortion Bill Lacks Top Supporter [Columbus Dispatch]

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