State Watch

Kasich signs restrictive abortion legislation, vetoes ‘heartbeat bill’

Outgoing Ohio Gov. John Kasich (R) on Friday vetoed a controversial bill that would have outlawed abortion after a fetal heartbeat is detected, but signed legislation that would ban the procedure used for almost all second-trimester abortions.

Kasich signed legislation banning dilation and evacuation (or “D&E”) procedures and penalizing doctors who perform them. According to, physicians could be charged with fourth-degree felony for performing the procedure, which is used for 95 percent of second-trimester abortions nationally.

The law grants no exception for rape or incest, but allows for an abortion past in order to save a woman’s life. The new law effectively bans most abortions as early as 12 weeks into a pregnancy. Mississippi and West Virginia have similar laws banning the procedure.

{mosads}Kasich on Friday also vetoed the so-called heartbeat bill, which would effectively ban abortions after the first few weeks of a woman’s pregnancy. 

The bill passed along mostly party lines and was expected to be vetoed by Kasich, as he did in 2016 with a similar measure.

“The central provision of (the bill), 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,” Kasich said in a statement announcing his veto, according to WKYC.

Ohio lawmakers return next week to consider whether they will try to override Kasich’s veto, but it’s unclear whether they have the votes. An override of Kasich’s veto requires support from three-fifths of lawmakers in both chambers.

Incoming Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine (R) said he would sign a “heartbeat bill” legislation.

Nineteen states adopted a total of 63 restrictions to abortion last year, the highest number since 2013, according to the Guttmacher Institute.


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