COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — The Republican-led Legislature sent Ohio Gov. John Kasich a pair of new abortion restrictions on Friday, including legislation banning terminations at the first detectable fetal heartbeat that he’s vowed to veto.
Following marathon lame-duck votes that lasted into the wee hours, Ohio lawmakers left open the possibility of returning to override any vetoes. However, the so-called heartbeat bill didn’t get the 60 House votes Friday that would be needed.
It was the second time in two years that lawmakers have sent the heartbeat bill to Kasich’s desk. He vetoed a similar measure in December 2016.
The final legislation specifies a transvaginal ultrasound isn’t required. That would mean detection of the heartbeat would be possible at around 10 weeks, rather than six weeks.
The other bill, approved during a Thursday session that continued overnight, bans dilation and evacuation abortions, one of the most common methods for the procedure.
After the approval of the heartbeat bill, Faith2Action President Janet Porter, who authored the legislation, urged supporters to “Pray!” and to respectfully hound Kasich in hopes he’ll change his mind.
Planned Parenthood, other abortion-rights groups and the American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio condemned both bills as part of a strategy to overturn the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark Roe v. Wade decision, which effectively legalized abortion before viability.
“But women’s lives and our right to decide whether to have an abortion is not a political game; women and families suffer when abortion is pushed out of reach,” Jocelyn Rosnick, policy director for ACLU of Ohio, said in a statement. “We will never stop fighting on behalf of women in Ohio and across the country.”
The civil rights organization stopped short of promising a legal challenge if the bills should become law, a move that would potentially send the issue to the Supreme Court, which now includes conservative Justice Brett Kavanaugh in the place of Anthony Kennedy, who sometimes provided a swing vote.
Once he receives the bill, Kasich has 10 days, excluding Sundays, to act. The House has scheduled a session day for Dec. 27 when an override vote could take place.
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