HEART­BEAT

The Columbus Dispatch - - Front Page - Rlud­[email protected]­patch.com @RandyLud­low [email protected]­patch.com @phront­page

Repub­li­can Gov. John Ka­sich had promised to veto the mea­sure, as he did two years ago.

That pledge means it will be very dif­fi­cult to pass the heart­beat bill this year. The Se­nate isn’t sched­uled to re­turn un­til Tues­day. Even if the cham­ber ap­proves the bill that day, and it gets to the gov­er­nor the fol­low­ing day (Dec. 12), Ka­sich can wait 10 days to veto the leg­is­la­tion.

Thus the leg­is­la­ture would have to re­turn to Colum­bus the week be­tween Christ­mas and New Year’s Day for a veto-over­ride vote. And since the mea­sure passed the House with the min­i­mum over­ride to­tal of 60 votes, ev­ery one of those sup­port­ers would have to show up to re­ject Ka­sich’s de­ci­sion.

House Speaker Ryan Smith, R-Bid­well, called the de­lay in Se­nate ap­proval of the House-passed bill a “curve ball,” but he main­tained, “I think there’s al­ways a po­ten­tial to come back — I wouldn’t say we’re done.”

Two House mem­bers told him they would even re­turn on Christ­mas Day to over­ride Ka­sich’s promised veto, but Smith said he had not yet de­ter­mined if dozens of oth­ers would be able to re­turn for a ses­sion.

“My an­tic­i­pa­tion is that we’ll pass it at some point,” said Se­nate Pres­i­dent Larry Ob­hof, R-Med­ina. Asked if the in­abil­ity to se­cure the votes needed for an over­ride came into play, he de­clined to com­ment.

The bill passed the GOP-con­trolled House by 60-35 on Nov. 15.

Gov.-elect Mike DeWine, who takes of­fice Jan. 14, has said he would sign a heart­beat bill — al­though one would have to be rein­tro­duced when the Gen­eral As­sem­bly starts its new two-year ses­sion in Jan­uary.

Com­mit­tee Chair­man Dave Burke, R-Marysville, said the de­lay was needed be­cause po­ten­tial amend­ments sur­faced that could im­prove the bill’s chances to sur­vive an in­evitable court chal­lenge.

“I don’t want this to be Custer’s last stand. Pat­ton is what I want,” Burke said, con­trast­ing Lt. Col. Ge­orge Custer’s death in 1876 at the Bat­tle of the Lit­tle Bighorn to Gen. Ge­orge S. Pat­ton’s suc­cess lead­ing Amer­i­can forces in World War II.

The heart­beat mea­sure, which con­tains no ex­cep­tions for rape and in­cest, would for­bid abor­tions after roughly six to seven weeks of preg­nancy, when the heart­beats of fe­tuses gen­er­ally can be first de­tected.

The bill would make it a fifth-de­gree felony, car­ry­ing up to one year in prison, for any doc­tor who vi­o­lates the pro­hi­bi­tion and per­forms an abor­tion.

Kel­lie Copeland, ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio, said in a state­ment: “This de­lay is not a vic­tory, but it is an im­por­tant, pos­i­tive sign. With a bill this hor­rific and im­moral, we’re very pleased to see Ohio leg­is­la­tors tak­ing pause to con­sider the dev­as­tat­ing con­se­quences that would hap­pen if abor­tion ac­cess was blocked across the state.”

Abor­tion op­po­nents hope an en­acted Ohio heart­beat ban, sure to at­tract le­gal chal­lenges in fed­eral court, could land on ap­peal be­fore the U.S. Supreme Court.

The ad­di­tion of two con­ser­va­tives to the court by Repub­li­can Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump has stoked op­po­nent hopes that the jus­tices could over­turn the land­mark Roe v. Wade rul­ing in 1973 that es­tab­lished women’s right to an abor­tion but held that states could im­pose rea­son­able re­stric­tions.

Dozens of abor­tion­rights sup­port­ers tes­ti­fied against the bill, with many point­ing out some women do not re­al­ize they are preg­nant un­til after six weeks.

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