Ohio governor signs ‘heartbeat’ abortion ban into law

Ohio governor signs ‘heartbeat’ abortion ban into law

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine signed into law Thursday a bill that bans abortions performed after a fetal heartbeat can be detected. 

Named the “Human Rights Protection Act,” the law bans abortions as early as five weeks, and is one of the most restrictive bills in the country. The law includes a provision allowing abortions to save the life of the mother, but it does not allow abortions in the case of rape or incest.

Opponents of the legislation have promised to challenge the law in federal court. Freda Levenson, Legal Director at the American Civil Liberties Union Of Ohio, wrote in a statement released Thursday, “This legislation is blatantly unconstitutional and we will fight to the bitter end to ensure that this bill is permanently blocked. SB 23 is one of the most aggressive, oppressive, and radical attacks against women ever seen in this state and this country.”

Similar laws in Kentucky and Iowa have been struck down by federal courts, but anti-abortion groups such as Ohio Right To Life are not dissuaded. 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 new law is scheduled to take effect in 90 days.