An Ohio bill that would have banned abortions as early as six weeks failed to pass in the Republican-controlled Ohio House Wednesday.
House Bill 248, a direct affront to Roe v. Wade, would have banned abortion before viability, even in cases of rape or incest. 11 Republicans voted against the bill, causing it to fail with a vote of 47-40. 11 legislators did not vote.
“It’s not supported by good science, it’s not supported by good medicine,” said Representative John Patrick Carney (D-Columbus), who voted against the bill.
The bill, a so-called “fetal heartbeat ban,” was labeled a “Heartless Abortion Ban” by reproductive rights advocates. Kellie Copeland, the executive director at NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio, said her organization was “elated” that the bill failed, but that debate surrounding the bill had had a “chilling effect” on women and physicians in Ohio.
“Sadly, we know that defeat of this legislation is not the end of the threat to women’s health,” Copeland said. “Anti-choice forces already have more restrictions on access to reproductive health care ready for introduction when the legislature returns in January.”
An earlier version of the failed Ohio bill had previously passed the Ohio House in 2011 but was defeated in the Senate.
Both North Dakota and Arkansas have passed early abortion bans, but these have been blocked by the courts. In April, a federal court permanently blocked enforcement of the North Dakota six-week abortion, calling the measure “invalid and unconstitutional.” Another federal court earlier this year struck down a “fetal heartbeat law” in Arkansas that would have banned abortion at 12 weeks.
Media Resources: Cleveland.com 12/10/2014; NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio 12/10/2014; Feminist Newswire 4/17/14, 3/18/14