COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) -- The Republican-led Ohio Senate has again passed a measure to ban abortion once a fetal heartbeat is detected.
The 19-13 vote Wednesday sends the so-called heartbeat bill to the Republican-controlled House. GOP Gov. Mike DeWine has indicated he'd sign such a ban.
It would be among the most restrictive abortion measures in the country. A fetal heartbeat can be detected as early as six weeks into pregnancy, before many women know they're pregnant.
Similar measures approved by Ohio lawmakers were twice vetoed by DeWine's predecessor, GOP Gov. John Kasich, who said enacting the heartbeat bill would prompt a costly court battle and it would likely be found unconstitutional.
“This vote that they’re taking (Wednesday) is a very different vote than the vote that they took in December," said Jaime Miracle with NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio. "It will get signed into law and it will most likely be challenged in the court but when it hits the Supreme Court what is going to happen with this new conservative majority?”
The bill includes an exemption if a mother's life is at risk, but no exemption for cases involving rape or incest.
Abortion opponents said Wednesday they believe their moment has arrived with the Heartbeat Bill cruising through the Statehouse and a recent court ruling upholding a law to defund Planned Parenthood.
“The court is going to have to bring up Roe v. Wade again because of these types of issues here today," said Mike Gonidakis with Ohio Right to Life. "That’s why it’s historic. We’re going to send a loud message to the rest of the nation and the nine men and women on the United States Supreme Court that this is our time. It’s time to overturn Roe. Let Ohio set its own policy and we can use this vehicle to do that.”