Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine (R) signed a bill into law Thursday that bans abortions once a fetal heartbeat can be detected.
“The signing of this bill today is consistent with that respect for life and the imperative to protect those who cannot protect themselves,” said the Republican governor, signing the bill in the presence of Republican lawmakers and pro-life advocates.
— Laura Hancock (@laurahancock) April 11, 2019
"The government's role should be to protect life from the beginning to the end," DeWine said.
— WLWT (@WLWT) April 11, 2019
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Ohio, however, announced a challenge to the law on behalf of two Planned Parenthood affiliates and another women’s abortion clinic, even prior to the governor’s signature on the bill.
“This legislation is blatantly unconstitutional, and we will fight to the bitter end to ensure that this bill is permanently blocked,” said Freda Levenson, legal director of the ACLU, reported the Toledo Blade. “S.B. 23 is one of the most aggressive, oppressive, and radical attacks against women ever seen in this state and this country.”
.@JamiesonLG: ACLU came out today and said that they will sue #Ohio on this law and we said, 'Bring it on.' The heartbeat bill is going to be a really good vehicle to bring it to the #SupremeCourt and so we welcome the challenge. @ohiolife https://t.co/6qkKlNjllc
— Chris Woodward (@afncwoodward) April 11, 2019
— Jessica Warner (@_jesswarner) April 11, 2019
Attending the Heartbeat Bill signing today. Since 2011 this battle for life has been ongoing. Today, we take a step in preserving that sanctity. @MikeDeWine @LarryObhof @OHVotes4Life #BornBeforeAbortion pic.twitter.com/1NFsoWCQgY
— Dave Burke (@BurkeForOhio) April 11, 2019
When asked about the challenge to the law, DeWine responded it is a “time-honored, constitutional tradition” to pass laws that challenge a precedent set by the U.S. Supreme Court.
“We live in a country with great respect for the law,” the governor said. “We will respect the law, and we will respect what the courts decide … It is in that spirit that I signed this today.”
OH Atty Gen Dave @Yost4Ohio, who will have to defend 'heartbeat' bill in court, says: “Sometimes, the evolution of the law requires bold steps. In the last 46 years, the practice of medicine has changed … Even the point of viability has changed. Only the law has lagged behind.
— Carl Weiser (@cweiser) April 11, 2019
The law, which is scheduled to take effect in 90 days, would make it a fifth-degree felony for an abortionist to proceed with an abortion after a heartbeat is detected or to neglect to test for a heartbeat. Abortionists who fail to comply with the law could receive a $2,000 fine and up to a year in prison.
Additionally, the state’s medical board could rescind the license of an abortionist who defies the law and fine the doctor another $20,000 to be given to a fund that supports adoption and foster care services.
Without the strong pro-life leadership of State Rep. Derek Merrin, the Heartbeat never would have become law today! Derek also serves as Chairman of the House Health Committee. Thank you, Derek! 🇺🇸 @dmerrin @OhioHouseGOP @toledonews @ohiolife @PeterRange12 pic.twitter.com/FokTEAcw7o
— Michael Gonidakis (@MGonidakis) April 11, 2019
The state legislature had already approved the “Heartbeat” measure in the past, but former Republican Gov. John Kasich vetoed the measure and the state Senate came up short one vote of the two-thirds majority needed to override his veto.
Ohio was successful in the courts with its anti-abortion legislation in March when a federal appeals court ruled the state may end taxpayer funding to Planned Parenthood because the organization performs abortions.
In that decision, Judge Jeffrey Sutton of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit wrote Ohio’s law to defund Planned Parenthood does “not violate a woman’s right to obtain an abortion,” that the state “has no obligation to pay for a woman’s abortion,” and that the law doesn’t impose “undue burden” on a woman’s access to an abortion.