UPDATE 12/7: The bill has passed the Ohio House and is now heading to Gov. Kasich’s desk.
The Ohio state Senate passed a so-called “heartbeat bill” today that would ban abortion as early as six weeks into pregnancy, or before some women even know they are pregnant. The language of the bill, which is the brainchild of Ohio Religious Right activist Janet Porter, was inserted by Republican lawmakers into an unrelated measure involving the state’s child abuse and neglect laws. If approved by the state House, the bill would head to the desk of the Gov. John Kasich.
Cleveland.com reports that Ohio Right to Life and leading Republicans in the state, including Kasich and Senate President Keith Faber, have resisted the bill in the past because it would be unlikely to survive court challenges. But, Faber said, his caucus decided to resurrect the bill because the election of Donald Trump, who has said he will nominate opponents of Roe v. Wade to the Supreme Court, has changed the dynamic”:
Critics, including Ohio Right to Life, have long said they’re sympathetic to the effort, but assert it would not survive a constitutional challenge.
For that reason, the Senate previously declined to act on the heartbeat bill. Senate President Keith Faber told reporters numerous times that the legislation would be found unconstitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court.
What changed for Faber?
Donald Trump was elected, Faber told reporters after session, and he will have the opportunity to appoint at least one conservative justice to the U.S. Supreme Court.
“He’s changed the dynamic and there was a consensus in our caucus to move forward,” Faber said.
Kasich said in 2014 he shared those concerns.
Porter responded to the news with an ecstatic message on her website:
JUST IN! The Ohio Senate has just passed the Heartbeat Bill! Praise the name of Jesus! The House must now concur with the Senate passed version of the Heartbeat Bill. They are in session now. Please Pray!
Porter said in October that Rep. Steve King of Iowa is set to introduce her bill at the federal level.