OH bans abortion after a fetal heartbeat is detected

Ohio becomes the latest state with a heartbeat abortion ban, but will likely face legal challenges

Ohio bans abortion after six weeks gestation following foetal heartbeat bill

The ACLU of OH announced it will sue to stop the law, which the group says "virtually bans all abortion care".

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.

The Republican campaigned in support of the ban after his predecessor, Gov.

Similar bills had been proposed in OH in the past, but the state's last Republican governor, John Kasich, vetoed those saying that they were unconstitutional. The final votes followed a spirited committee hearing where abortion rights activists evoked an era of back alleys and coat-hanger abortions. Georgia's legislature has passed a heartbeat bill but Governor Brian Kemp has not yet signed it.

Alabama may go further, with legislation introduced last week to criminalize abortion at any stage unless the mother's health is in jeopardy. State Senator Kristina Roegner was the bill's primary sponsor. The goal, she said, is to "challenge access to safe, legal abortion nationally".

Bans on heartbeat abortion have been enacted in Arkansas, Iowa, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina and North Dakota, but some of the laws have been blocked by the courts.

"The lower courts are going to find these laws unconstitutional because the Supreme Court requires that outcome", said Hillary Schneller, an attorney with the Center for Reproductive Rights.

"The whole thing is written to contradict Roe v. Wade", Holmes said at that time.

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Alternatively, the high court could agree to hear any of several less sweeping anti-abortion measures. It is one of the most restrictive abortion laws in the country.

"If this is what it takes, we will see you at the Supreme Court", said Planned Parenthood of Ohio President Iris Harvey at a rally Wednesday outside the Statehouse.

For example, the newly composed Supreme Court could decide to take up the constitutionality of laws in OH banning abortions sought for particular reasons, such as fetal anomaly.

Some anti-abortion groups have declined to endorse the heartbeat bills, signaling doubts about their prospects. Many hope that the law and ensuing litigation will convince the Supreme Court to reexamine their decision in Roe v. Wade, which established a woman's right to an abortion.

The renewed challenges come as the number of abortions performed in the USA has steadily declined since reaching a peak of 1.6 million in 1990.

Regardless of what happens with Ohio's bill, the sting in the legislature is palpable.

"The essential function of government is to protect the most vulnerable among us, those who don't have a voice", DeWine said as he signed the bill, according to NPR.

"We had so many phone calls from people trying to save up the money for their procedure", Crim said. Another bill in Georgia has yet to be signed by the governor. Two similar bans have already been blocked or overturned by federal courts.

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