The Ohio legislature’s surprise decision to pass the so-called Heartbeat Bill, which, if signed by Governor John Kasich, would ban all abortion after roughly six weeks, has garnered a lot of outrage. But as Ohio was passing the Heartbeat Bill, they were also in the process of pushing through a 20-week ban sponsored by Ohio Right to Life.
The 20-week ban, SB 127, was approved by the legislature last night and is now on Kasich’s desk. He has ten days to decided whether or not to sign the bill. The ban has no exceptions for rape, incest, fetal anomalies, or the mental health of the woman. It’s very likely that Kasich, who loves to sign abortion restrictions, will sign the 20-week ban which could be a greater overall restriction on abortion rights than the Heartbeat Bill (a bill that’s designed to do many things, but hold up in court is not one of them).
The 20-week ban has become a favorite restriction among anti-abortion groups. Fifteen states currently ban abortion after 20 weeks. Though Planned Parenthood recently filed a challenge against North Carolina’s 20-week restriction, numerous states, including Texas, are also looking to add this restriction.
The Supreme Court set abortion limits at 24 weeks during Roe vs. Wade but many activists believe that a Trump appointed justice could sway the court toward that 20-week ban. Mike Gonidakis, the president of Ohio Right to Life, recently told MSNBC, “I know we hope [Kasich] signs the 20-week ban because we think it’ll be a game changer for the pro-life movement.”
So, while the Heartbeat Bill is garnering a lot of attention and justifiable outrage, the recently passed 20-week ban is very likely to have quite a bit more impact on abortion rights.