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12th Apr 2019

Ohio bans abortion after six weeks gestation following foetal heartbeat bill

Jade Hayden

“The most compassionate bill we’ve ever passed…”

Ohio has passed a law making it illegal to procure an abortion after six weeks gestation.

The foetal heartbeat bill was signed into the State’s law on Thursday, effectively banning abortion after six weeks into a pregnancy, or when the foetal heartbeat is present.

A transvaginal ultrasound scan can sometimes detect the foetal heartbeat as early as five weeks gestation, before most women even know they are pregnant.

CBS News reports that the bill was signed into law yesterday by Republican governor Mike DeWine. The governor before him, John Kasich, had vetoed the measure twice.

Ohio Right to Life President Mike Gonidakis called the law “the first step” in overturning Roe v. Wade nationwide.

The landmark Supreme Court decision made abortion legal across the States in 1973, however anti-abortion and pro-life groups have been lobbying to make abortion access even more difficult in the hope to completely overturn the law.

“The heartbeat bill is the next incremental step in our strategy to overturn Roe v. Wade,” said Gonidakis.

“While other states embrace radical legislation to legalize abortion on demand through the ninth month of pregnancy, Ohio has drawn a line and continues to advance protections for unborn babies.”

Republican state representative Candice Keller called the law “the most compassionate bill we’ve passed” while anti-abortion group Faith2Action declared: “Victory!”

Understandably, pro-choice and human rights groups have condemned the lawmakers’ decision to ban abortion after six weeks.

Kellie Copeland, director of NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio, said that Ohio has become “a dystopian nightmare where people are forced to continue pregnancies regardless of the harm that may come to them or their family.”

The Democratic National Committee’s CEO Seema Nanda said the law was

“… The latest example of how the Trump administration’s extremist, anti-women policies have emboldened legislators across the country to attack women’s access to health care.”

The ACLU have said they are planning to challenge the ban constitutionally.