On Tuesday, November 6, Ohio lawmakers passed the “Heartbeat Bill,” banning abortions in that state from the moment a heartbeat can be detected in a fetus. This usually occurs around a month and a half into pregnancy. However, most women do not know until the second month of the pregnancy that they are expecting. The bill also prohibits exceptions for cases dealing with rape or incest.
What happens next for the bill depends on conservative governor John Kasich, who has ten days to decide whether or not to veto the legislation. State legislators considered the bill in previous years, but it never passed the Senate.
So, why did the Republican party of Ohio make a move now? Ohio Senate President Keith Faber, a Republican from Celina, told reporters after the final vote, "One, a new President, new Supreme Court justice appointees change the dynamic, and that there was a consensus in our caucus to move forward." It is no secret that President-elect Donald Trump stated several times during his campaign that he would help criminalize abortions.
The bill will become law early next year. Senator Kris Jordan stated that "We are a pro-life caucus...The passage of this legislation in the Ohio Senate demonstrates our commitment to protecting the children of Ohio at every stage of life."
So, why does this matter? The bill is a loss for women all over the country, not just those in Ohio. Women have fought years and years for control over their bodies. By losing the right to access an abortion, such control is lost. When a woman is raped, she is stripped of control. By denying her the right to an abortion is further denying that woman control of her body.
The passing of this bill destroys the landmark decision of Roe v. Wade. The bill punishes women for seeking an abortion no matter the circumstances. This bill not only gives women an irreconcilably brief period of time to find out that they are pregnant, it also gives them little-to-no time to decide whether or not to actually seek out and get an abortion.
Abortion is not an easy decision, and the women seeking the procedure, regardless of its legality, are often times desperate and will seek any means to do so. Women travel miles and often end up getting unsafe procedures that hinder their own health as well.
Additionally, continuing an unwanted pregnancy leads to a poor quality of life for both the mother, and the child. As of September 2012, 415,129 children were reported to be in foster care, and that number has only grown exponentially since then. The adoption process is long and tedious. Many children simply do not get adopted and age out of the program. These same children continue on with a poor quality of life, and unfortunately, the cycle repeats itself.
Finally, this bill is a veiled attempt to allow religion to creep into the political arena. Ohio does not see that their bill pushes religion down the throats of women who have now lost control and safety at a very vulnerable time.