Earlier this month Ohio Governor John Kasich vetoed the so-called Heartbeat Bill, a measure that, if signed, would have banned all abortions after a fetal heartbeat could be detected. The law, sponsored by a fringe anti-choice group who broke from the more “mainstream” Ohio Right to Life to push the bill through a lame-duck session, would have effectively banned abortion after roughly five weeks.
Kasich’s veto apparently isn’t the end for the Heartbeat Bill. Instead, supporters are hoping to override it. There’s some irony in the plan, though Kasich is one of the most anti-choice governors in America—he vetoed the Heartbeat Bill but that same day he signed a 20-week ban into law—the governor’s abortion policies are apparently too liberal for many in the Ohio legislature. The Toledo Blade reports that House Speaker Cliff Rosenberger indicated that legislature will likely convene in a special session between Christmas and New Year’s Day to consider overriding bills that Kasich vetoed, That includes the Heartbeat Bill.
“I’m disappointed, and many members of the caucus are disappointed,” Rosenberger told the Blade. “We’re still facilitating conversations with a lot of our members in our caucus to see where we can go.”
The Ohio House needs 60 votes to override a veto; 56 legislators voted in favor of the Heartbeat Bill and, as Rosenberger noted, “two members absent that would have voted for the bill.” Though it’s not clear that every House member who voted for the bill will vote to override the veto, Rosenberger and the bill’s supporters are hoping to sway those on the fence. To be clear, only the House is looking to gather enough votes, the Ohio Senate already has enough votes to approve the House’s override.
Barring passage of the Heartbeat Bill in the 2016 legislative session, Rosenberger said that he would reintroduce the bill next session when there will be one more Republican in his caucus. So despite Kasich’s veto, it looks as though the Heartbeat Bill is going to remain a top priority for Ohio Republicans.