Ohio Gov. John Kasich (R) vetoed legislation Friday that would’ve banned abortion after the detection of a fetal heartbeat which is usually at around six weeks into a pregnancy.
Kasich identifies as pro-life but argued in his veto statement that the bill was likely unconstitutional and would result in a costly court battle for the state.
“As governor I have worked hard to strengthen Ohio’s protections for the sanctity of human life, and I have a deep respect for my fellow members of the pro-life community and their ongoing efforts in defense of unborn life,” he said. “However, the central provision of Sub. H.B. 258, that an abortion cannot be performed if a heartbeat has been detected in the unborn child, is contrary to the Supreme Court of the United States’ current rulings on abortion.
"The State of Ohio will be the losing party in that 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," he said.
Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds (R) signed a similar bill in May banning abortion after the heartbeat is detected. The measure has been blocked from enforcement while its constitutionality is being challenged by Planned Parenthood.
North Dakota and Arkansas have attempted to pass similar measures as well but they were struck down by lower courts and the Supreme Court declined to hear those cases in 2016.
Kasich did sign another bill Friday banning “dismemberment” abortion, a procedure known as dilation and evacuation where the unborn child is torn apart with forceps.
Alabama recently petitioned the Supreme Court to review their ban on such procedures after lower courts ruled that the state’s ban was unconstitutional.
Ohio Right to Life celebrated Kasich signing that abortion ban Friday.
“Ohioans can sleep easier tonight, knowing that the horrendous practice of dismemberment abortions is behind us” said Mike Gonidakis, president of Ohio Right to Life. “Pro-Life Ohio will not stop until the Abortion Report reads: Zero. Nothing to report.”
NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio Executive Director Kellie Copeland said in a statement that Kasich was “reckless and irresponsible” for signing the ban, which she said would prevent “a very safe and common method used in second trimester abortions.”