On Wednesday, Ohio Republicans in the House approved an even more restrictive version of the so-called “heartbeat bill” passed by the state Senate in March, taking the state one step closer towards enacting one of the most draconian abortion restrictions in the country. The state’s Republican Governor Mike DeWine has already promised he will sign the bill into law.
SB 23, which has since been chillingly renamed the “Human Rights Protection Act” by the House’s Health Committee, would prohibit people from getting abortions once a heartbeat can be detected, which can occur as early as six weeks into one’s pregnancy. As Linda Greenhouse pointed out in an op-ed in the New York Times, that six-week cutoff date is so early into a pregnancy that the embryo is “not yet even considered a fetus.” If the bill becomes law, doctors in Ohio who perform abortions after detecting a heartbeat would face being charged with a felony and up to a year in prison, and face additional fines of up to $20,000. While it has an exception if the person’s life is in danger, there is no exception in cases of rape or incest.