While most of the country has been standing back and watching the incoming Trump administration in baffled horror, one group is positively giddy with glee anticipating his inauguration: anti-choice activists and lawmakers.
In Ohio last week, GOP lawmakers quietly slipped a provision banning abortion as soon as a fetal heartbeat is detectable into a bill originally intended to help medical professionals report child abuse to law enforcement. In many cases, that’s as early as six weeks into a pregnancy.
The problem with this legislation? The earliest most women will even realize they’re experiencing an unplanned pregnancy is a week or two after a missed period – five or six weeks in. When you add in the time needed to find a clinic, consult with a doctor, and schedule the procedure, this law would make it nearly impossible for a woman to actually obtain an abortion in Ohio.
That’s why late night comic Samantha Bee blasted the law on her show this week, calling fetal heartbeat bills “as illegal as crack.” You can view her segment below:
Kasich Has Vetoed the Fetal Heartbeat Bill, But That Doesn’t Mean Abortion Rights Are Secure
Surprisingly enough, even the staunchly anti-choice governor of Ohio, John Kasich, agreed with Bee’s assessment and he vetoed the Heartbeat Bill earlier today. (It’s worth noting that he did, however, approve a less extreme 20-week abortion ban.) He didn’t reject the bill because it would place an undue burden on women or strip needed protections from rape and incest victims, but because it would be too expensive for the state to defend in court when the ACLU and other advocacy organizations challenged it.
In a statement on the decision, he wrote:
Similar legislation enacted in two other states has twice been declared unconstitutional by federal judges, and the Supreme Court declined to review those decisions.
Those last few words are key — in fact, they’re the reason pro-choice advocates shouldn’t relax any time soon. The moment Trump nominates a new Supreme Court justice, we should expect a torrent of similar bills to pop up around the country. The anti-choicers know these bills violate the constitution: that’s what they’re counting on. If they can get one of these blatantly illegal laws before a sympathetic Supreme Court, they might finally have a shot at overturning Roe v. Wade.
We can’t let ourselves become complacent just because the Ohio bill failed. Kasich, and many other Republican governors, will have no issue signing off on similar legislation as soon as they think it stands a chance of holding up in court.
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