Second Pro-Life Bill sent to Governor Kasich
A second law restricting abortion in Ohio is on Gov. John Kasich’s desk today. The Pain-Capable Unborn Child Act would ban abortions after 20 weeks.
Like the so-called “Heartbeat Bill,” which reached the governor Wednesday (See our story Here) this legislation passed one state house in the afternoon, and the second late in the evening.
Unless Gov. Kasich vetoes them, bills passed by the general assembly become law in 10 days.
Both laws would significantly restrict abortions in Ohio. The Heartbeat Bill would restrict abortions after an unborn child’s heartbeat can be detected, which is currently as soon as 16 weeks. In effect, it would ban most abortions.
The Pain-Capable Unborn Child Act would ban abortion after an unborn child can feel pain, which many scientists currently consider to be no later than 20 weeks. It would ban abortions after five months gestational age. While this would restrict a smaller number of abortions, supporters of the law say that it would be an important step.
“It’s a great day to be a pro-lifer in Ohio,” said Margie Christie, assistant executive director of Dayton Right to Life, who followed the hearings online until after midnight Thursday night with other pro-life leaders around the state.
“Both these pieces of legislation are monumental for us here in Dayton,” where Martin Haskell’s last Ohio abortion business operates, she said. “Haskell not only does abortions under 20 weeks, but over. Either or both of these bills would change our landscape.”
Ohio Right to Life said that the Bill introduced by Sen. Peggy Lehner (R-Kettering) was designed to challenge the 24-week limit set by Roe v.Wade, based on what was then considered the age of viability. Ohio RTL President Michael Gonidakis called that limit an “archaic, arbitrary framework set up by seven activist judges more than 40 years ago.”
Today, many babies born at less than 24-weeks gestation live, he said, noting that nearly 500 babies between the gestational ages of 19 weeks and 24 weeks were aborted in Ohio in 2015.
“This historic moment is a critical step in the national effort to redefine the abortion debate and expand protections for the unborn,” Gonidakis said. “In the age of 4D ultrasounds and even 3D printed ultrasounds, abortion simply isn’t the ‘unknown’ that it once was for Americans. We know that at this stage in pregnancy, these children are literally dismembered limb-by-limb and that the child has pain receptors present throughout her entire body. Ohio is eager to take the lead in rejecting this practice and leading the United States down a humane path that protects the most vulnerable among us.”
Gov. Kasich can do nothing and let the bills become law, or he can choose to sign or veto one or both. Because the Heartbeat Bill passed as an amendment to another bill that includes line-item veto authority, he may also choose to pass the whole bill but veto the abortion amendment.
“We hope he signs either or both,” said Dayton Right to Lie’s Christie. “It would be out of character for him not to sign either.”
Laws similar to the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Act have been passed in 15 states and Heartbeat Bills have been passed in two. Several of the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Acts have been challenged in court, as have both the Heartbeat Bills.
Long-time pro-life advocate Deacon Dave Shaffer, who serves at Immaculate Heart of Mary parish in Anderson township, said he is happy about the bills but that the pro-life movement as a whole remains committed to ending all abortions in the United States.
“All of us feel, for the most part, that this is a step in the right direction,” he said. “But anything that isn’t a total ban is a compromise. In the case of human life, that’s a compromise with death.”