Ohio Gov. John Kasich has reportedly rejected the strict abortion bill sometimes known as the "heartbeat bill" on Tuesday. The bill would have forbidden the termination procedure once a fetal heartbeat had been detected, which is as early as six weeks after conception.
In rejecting the bill, which was originally passed on Dec. 6, Kasich cited a judicial precedent that states that the legislation was "clearly contrary to the Supreme Court of the United States’ current rulings on abortion." "The State of Ohio will be the losing party in a lawsuit and, as the losing party, the State of Ohio will be forced to pay hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars to cover the legal fees for the pro-choice activists’ lawyers," Kasich wrote in a statement regarding the veto.
But with the same stroke of his pen, Kasich also signed a 20-week abortion law, which prevents abortions from happening 20 weeks after conception, a point at which some medical officials say the fetus can feel pain. In another statement regarding the signed legislation, Kasich stated that he sided with many pro-life advocates. "I agree with Ohio Right to Life and other leading, pro-life advocates that S.B. 127 is the best, most legally sound and sustainable approach to protecting the sanctity of human life," Kasich said of the 20-week bill. Neither of the measures include exceptions to woman who have been raped, victims of incest, or severe fetal anomalies. It does include however, an exception to save pregnant women's lives, according to Newsweek.
More than 10 other states have also installed a 20-week abortion ban. Arizona and Idaho have ruled the legislation unconstitutional. Additionally, lower courts in states such as North Dakota and Arkansas have dismissed "heartbeat bills" like the one Kasich rejected.
As expected, Kasich's decisions have drawn quite a lot of buzz from pro-life and pro-choice advocates. "John Kasich is treating women’s health care like a game," Kellie Copeland, executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio, said following the signing. "He thinks that by vetoing one abortion ban Ohioans will not notice that he has signed another. The 20-week abortion ban callously disregards the unique circumstances that surround a woman’s pregnancy." On the other hand, anti-abortion organization Faith2Action called Kasich's veto of the "heartbeat bill" a "betrayal of life."