Kasich signs 20-week abortion ban, vetoes ‘heartbeat’ bill

Kasich signs 20-week abortion ban, vetoes ‘heartbeat’ bill
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Ohio Gov. John Kasich (R) on Tuesday signed into law a measure banning abortions 20 weeks after conception, but vetoed a measure that would have outlawed abortion after as few as six weeks.
 
The bill Kasich vetoed, known as a “heartbeat” bill, passed Ohio’s legislature along mostly partisan lines last week and would have made abortions illegal once a fetus's heartbeat is detected. But even groups that oppose abortion rights believed the measure would fail in the face of an expected court challenge; Ohio Right to Life asked Kasich on Monday to veto the bill.
 
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Lower courts have struck down similar laws in North Dakota and Arkansas, and the Supreme Court has refused to hear appeals of those decisions. 
 
Ohio’s Republican-dominated legislature passed the 20-week abortion ban just days after the heartbeat bill. The 20-week ban has been upheld by courts in several other states. Fifteen states currently ban abortions after 20 weeks.
 
Katherine Franklin, a spokeswoman for Ohio Right to Life, said in an email her group backs the 20-week abortion ban instead.
 
“Both are pre-viability bans, but we believe [the 20-week ban] is the best strategy for overturning Roe v. Wade and will ultimately prove most palatable to the Supreme Court,” Franklin said. “It’s not just the Ohio strategy but the national strategy.”
 
Republican victories in state legislative chambers since 2010 have given opponents of abortion rights new openings to challenge existing laws in many states. 
 
Since 2011, the year Republicans took over scores of state legislative seats after the 2010 midterms, 334 measures restricting abortion rights have passed in 32 states across the country. Forty-four were enacted in 2016 alone, according to a tally by the Guttmacher Institute, not including the two passed last week by Ohio's legislature.