The United States Ohio Governor John Kasich signed a law allowing a 20-week gestation limit for abortions on Tuesday. The governor also rejected the 'Heartbeat Bill' which proposes to ban abortions after a foetus develops a heartbeat in the womb.
A fetal heartbeat bill is a form of proposed anti-abortion legislation in the United States which makes abortions in the states illegal as soon as the heartbeat of the fetus can be detected. The bill is based on the theory that a fetus is a person as soon as it has a heartbeat.
According to the Associated Press reports, the provisions of the heartbeat bill would have limited the period during which women could get abortion to about six weeks. Reports state that many women are not even aware of their pregnancy during the first six weeks after getting pregnant. The bill was also considered more vulnerable to legal challenge by pro-choice people.
Kasich, an abortion-rights opponent, vetoed the heartbeat bill stating that two similar bans on abortion in at least two other states had been declared unconstitutional and many other states have also faced legal challenges over such abortion bans.
"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. Furthermore, such a defeat invites additional challenges to Ohio's strong legal protections for unborn life," Kasich in a statement said.
Reports state that apart from Ohio, some fifteen other states follow the 20-week gestation period abortion ban too. The state's prominent anti-abortion-rights group also supported the 20-week ban and praised the Ohio governor for passing the legislation.
"The 20-week ban was nationally designed to be the vehicle to end abortion in America," Ohio Right to Life in a statement said.
"[Kasich] may hope that by vetoing a six-week ban — which would have virtually banned abortion with almost no exceptions — he comes off as moderate. The 20-week ban will force women to travel long distances and cross state lines in order to access safe, legal abortion," Planned Parenthood Action Fund's Dawn Laguens said.