Ohio state Senate passes fetal 'heartbeat' abortion bill

Ohio state Senate passes fetal 'heartbeat' abortion bill

The Ohio state Senate on Wednesday passed a "heartbeat" abortion bill that aims to ban the procedure once a fetus has a detectable heartbeat.

Senate Bill 23, which was sponsored by state Sen. Kristina Roegner (R), passed on a 19-13 party-line vote, according to Cleveland.com. The bill will now head to the state House. 

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The bill, which has been taken up in multiple state legislatures this year, would become one of the strictest policies regarding abortions in the United States. If passed, women would not be permitted to get an abortion once a fetus has a detectable heartbeat, which can generally happen within six weeks of a pregnancy.

Critics of the bill have contended that many women do not know they are pregnant by that point. 

"We need a new standard," Roegner said while speaking to her Senate colleagues, according to Cleveland.com. "The heartbeat bill provides a sensible solution.”

Violators of SB 23 could be charged with a fifth-degree felony, according to Cleveland.com. The conviction could reportedly result in six to 12 months in prison and a $2,500 fine. 

The legislation does come with exceptions. The bill reportedly says that a woman will be allowed to receive an abortion if she's at risk of dying or if she could suffer an “irreversible impairment of a major bodily function.”

John Kasich vetoed the "heartbeat" abortion legislation multiple times during his stint as governor. But Gov. Mike DeWine (R) said in January that he would "absolutely" sign the bill. 

The Ohio Planned Parenthood chapter denounced the bill when it was introduced last month. 

"The early introduction of the SB 23, the unconstitutional six-week abortion ban, highlights the misguided and dangerous priorities of our state legislators," the organization tweeted. "This bill seeks to ban abortion before most people know they're pregnant. It's shameful. #StopTheBans"