Ohio's 'heartbeat bill' contains some of strictest anti-abortion rules in nation

The Ohio House on Nov. 15 passed a "heartbeat bill" that would create some of the nation's strictest anti-abortion rules, according to Cleveland.com.

House Bill 258, which passed the House by a 60-35 vote, would make Ohio the fourth state to ban abortions when fetal heartbeats can be detected, except to prevent the mother from dying or being seriously impaired. A fetal heartbeat can be detected as early as six weeks into a pregnancy, potentially before a woman knows she is pregnant.

In late 2016, Ohio lawmakers passed a similar bill vetoed by Gov. John Kasich, who said the measure would most likely be halted in court, as other "heartbeat bills" passed in Arkansas, North Dakota and Iowa had been.

Mr. Kasich did sign separate legislation banning abortions after 20 weeks.

Unlike the 2016 bill, however, the House has the 60 votes needed to override Mr. Kasich's veto. The bill must first pass the Ohio Senate before it can reach Mr. Kasich's desk.

Republican state Rep. Christina Hagan, the bill's co-sponsor, said the measure would give "a more consistent and reliable marker for the courts to use" when taking the constitutionality of abortion laws into account.

Several House Democrats spoke out against the bill.

Democratic state Rep. Nickie Antonio said the bill does not make exception for pregnancy from incest or rape.

"Victims of rape should not have additional control of their bodies taken away from them," Ms. Antonio said. "It should be a survivor's decision to make."

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