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Two anti-abortion bills head to Ohio governor's desk

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Two anti-abortion bills approved by the Ohio Legislature are now headed to Republican Gov. John Kasich's desk, where he may choose to sign -- or veto -- one,...

Posted: Dec 16, 2018 9:16 AM

Two anti-abortion bills approved by the Ohio Legislature are now headed to Republican Gov. John Kasich's desk, where he may choose to sign -- or veto -- one, both or neither.

House Bill 258, dubbed the "heartbeat bill," would ban abortions when doctors can detect a fetal heartbeat. Opponents to this kind of bill argue that it would prohibit abortions before many women even realize they are pregnant.

Kasich himself has reportedly said he will veto the bill, as he did in 2016. But Republican governor-elect Mike DeWine, who takes office January 14, has suggested that he would sign it if such a bill were to land on his desk.

The other piece of legislation, Senate Bill 145, would prohibit -- with some exceptions -- the dilation and evacuation or D&E procedure, the most commonly used abortion method during the second trimester.

Opponents to abortion, who often call the D&E procedure a "dismemberment abortion," celebrated news of the law's progression.

"Ohio's pro-life Legislature has taken a courageous stance," Mike Gonidakis, president of Ohio Right to Life, said in a statement. "No longer will the barbaric abortion procedure of ripping a child limb from limb be tolerated in Ohio. This practice is horrific and with [this] vote Ohioans through their elected representatives have saved countless unborn babies from this torture."

The anti-abortion group voiced confidence that Kasich will sign SB 145, "as he has previously signed 20 Ohio Right to Life initiatives in the last seven years," spokeswoman Jamieson Gordon said in an email.

She explained that from the moment these bills arrive on Kasich's desk, he has 10 days, excluding Sundays, to veto or sign them.

"If he takes no action, it becomes law," she said. Vetoes, if there are any, "he will most likely do at the last minute, on day nine or 10, because it will be more difficult for the Ohio Legislature to bring everyone back for a veto override."

Vetoes on both bills are what proponents of abortion access hope to see.

"In hearing after hearing on both bills medical professionals and medical students testified about how this bill is a dangerous restriction of the practice of medicine and would force quality medical professionals out of the state," said Kellie Copeland, executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio, in a statement.

"We must listen to these medical professionals and the countless individuals who shared their abortion stories," she added. "Governor Kasich must reject both of these bills and ensure that all Ohioans have access to the abortion care they need, in their communities, without judgement or delay."

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