Flipped Vote of Ohio GOP Senator Allowed Kasich Veto of Heartbeat Bill to Stand

fetal heartbeat

A veto by Ohio Gov. John Kasich of a bill that would have prohibited abortions past the time at which a baby’s heartbeat could be detected was allowed to stand when the state Senate failed by one unexpected vote to override the veto.

Republican state Sen. Bill Beagle flipped his vote on the measure when it was time to vote on overriding the veto. Beagle had previously voted to pass the bill in committee and then again, later, when it was on the floor of the state Senate. Despite his previous votes in favor of the measure, however, he said it failed to meet his “higher standard” for overriding Kasich’s veto.

“I think that there should be a standard – there’s a standard for a bill to pass and there’s a higher standard for it to be overridden,” Beagle replied to Jason Aubry of NBC4 about his decision not to override Kasich’s veto. “I just don’t think it met the standard.”

“Ultimately you have to vote your conscience and, again, I’ve supported the bill in the past and I’m a pro-life voter – and they may not consider me so after today – but I’ve always been there on their issues,” Beagle continued in defense of his decision.

However, Beagle also said his “good working relationship” with Kasich was an important consideration for his decision.

“This is as much about Gov. Kasich and his relationship with the General Assembly, and Gov. Kasich has been supportive of me and I think we have a good working relationship and that weighs into the question as well,” he said.

Outgoing Rep. Christina Hagan, a sponsor of the Heartbeat Bill, challenged Beagle on Twitter:

“I’d like to know more about your definition of a higher standard,” she posted. “How did my bill, vetted for 8 years, not meet your standard but a pay raise jammed into another bill did? Was defending innocent life too high an ask for 2weeks(2 votes)in a row?”

Aaron Baer, president of Citizens for Community Values (CCV) – which advocates in Ohio for pro-family policy – echoed Hagan’s sentiments in a statement as well.

“Senator Bill Beagle (R-Montgomery, Preble, and Montgomery) voted to give lawmakers like himself a pay raise, but not to save thousands of Ohio lives every year,” Baer said.

“It is inexcusable how Beagle could vote for the Heartbeat bill in the Senate Health committee, and on the Senate floor the first time, then change his vote at the last minute,” Baer continued. “He also gave no warning to the bill’s sponsors or proponents that he changed his mind.”

Both chambers of the state legislature passed the bill earlier in December and Kasich vetoed it, standing with Democrats and Planned Parenthood as he referred to the measure as one that was unconstitutional and would require a significant amount of money to defend in court.

After Christmas, state lawmakers returned to work to reconsider the bill. They would need a two-thirds majority to override Kasich’s veto, but Beagle’s surprise vote against an override allowed the veto to stand.

“The pro-life movement will carry on for another day,” Baer said. “Thankfully, Ohio has true pro-life champions coming into the Governor’s office in the DeWine/Husted administration. Our call to state legislative leadership is to not delay in 2019. The times are urgent, and we must enact this bill as soon as possible.”

Ohio Right to Life will also be supporting the Heartbeat Bill in 2019, after working to pass a ban on late-term dismemberment abortions.

“While we have been neutral on the current legislation before the General Assembly while our dismemberment legislation worked its way to the Governor, we are now prepared to support our partners in Ohio’s pro-life movement to enact the heartbeat bill,” the group said. “With the additions of Justices Gorsuch and Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court we believe this is the most pro-life court we have seen in generations. Now is the time to pursue this approach.”


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