Editorial: Courts, not Kasich, should decide ‘heartbeat bill’


The Lima News



Ohio Governor John Kasich should not stand in the way of the Ohio Legislature’s bid to pass one of the most restrictive abortion bills in the country.

The so-called “heartbeat bill” bans abortion at the first detectable fetal heartbeat, which could occur within the first six weeks of pregnancy. The proposal easily cleared the Republican-controlled House by a 58-35 vote Thursday, and is now slated to go to the Senate. It likely will land on Kasich’s desk before he leaves office in January.

A similar bill was handed to Kasich in 2016, only to be vetoed by the governor who called it unconstitutional. Whether that claim is true or not should be left up to the courts to decide, not the governor.

A Kasich veto would likely only delay the inevitable. This time around Republican lawmakers have enough members in both the House and Senate to override a veto from the governor.

One of the bill’s sponsors, Republican State Representative Christina Hagan of Stark County, declared supporters of the bill are prepared for a challenge that could go all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, where it now stands a better chance of taking effect with newly appointed Justice Brett Kavanaugh on board.

“We have more favor and opportunity than ever for the extension of protection to be given to children in the womb,” Hagan said.

The stringent bill has faced widespread opposition from abortion rights advocates. It only permits an abortion in cases where pregnancy could endanger the life of the woman or cause her substantial bodily harm. Doctors could also perform an abortion if a medical emergency prevents a fetal heartbeat from being detected.

What the House bill doesn’t allow are exceptions for cases of rape or incest. This is something the Senate needs to address with the House before sending the bill on to Kasich.

Should the bill some how get derailed by Kasich, it still wouldn’t be the end of it.

Governor-elect Mike DeWine, also a Republican, has promised to sign the heartbeat bill after taking office next year.

So why not wait on DeWine?

The answer is simple. Voters elected their lawmakers to take action now, not to wait until later.

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