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'Heartbeat Bill' Expected To Return With Support From Ohio Right To Life

This photo taken June 5, 2012, outside the statehouse in Columbus, Ohio, shows a large balloon in support of the "Heartbeat Bill."
Ann Sanner
Associated Press

Ohio Right to Life, one of the most influential lobby groups at the Statehouse, has come out with its legislative priorities for this year. Topping the list is a controversial abortion bill that’s expected to be re-introduced soon. 

The so called "Heartbeat Bill" was vetoed twice by former Gov. John Kasich. The legislation would ban abortion after a fetal heartbeat is detected.

This time around, it will have the backing of the state's largest anti-abortion group - Ohio Right to Life.

Ohio Right to Life had remained neutral on the Heartbeat Bill during past attempts by other anti-abortion groups to pass it. However Jamieson Gordon said, recently, her organization has had a change of heart due to a change in the nation’s highest court.

“This is a very, very originalist Supreme Court that we think will be more favorable to a challenge of Roe v. Wade," Gordon said.

Two Republican women lawmakers, Sen. Peggy Lehner (R-Kettering) and Rep. Kristina Roegner (R-Hudson) are expected to reintroduce the bill soon. Senate President Larry Obhof (R-Ashtabula) along with Senators Bob Peterson (R-Washington Court House) and Matt Huffman (R-Lima), members of the Senate Republican leadership team, will co-sponsor the bill. Gov. Mike DeWine has said he’ll sign it.

Ohio Right to Life has other items on its legislative agenda. The group wants a law requiring burial or cremation of fetal remains. That bill that has been under consideration for a couple of years but hasn't passed both chambers. Right now, Ohio law stipulates aborted fetal remains be disposed of "humanely."

The group is also proposing a bill that is new to Ohio. It would require women be given information on how to reverse medication abortions. That's a measure that has passed or is being considered in a handful of other states. The North Dakota House of Representatives just passed the bill earlier this week.

Ohio Right to Life is also backing a bill that would ban doctors from using telemedicine as a way to prescribe or assist in an abortion. And the organization wants a bill that specifically prohibits the buying or selling of any aborted remains.

NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio Executive Director Kellie Copeland blasted Ohio Right to Life and state Senators.

"Republican leadership in Ohio Senate have shown their contempt for people who make the decision to end a pregnancy with policies that shame them for their decision and force them to be told medically inaccurate information and undergo unnecessary procedures, " Copeland said.

Copeland continued, saying "the agenda of Ohio Senate Republican leadership is alarming because Gov. DeWine has pledged to sign the six week abortion ban and President Trump has stacked the U.S. Supreme Court with an anti-abortion majority."

Copeland warns the result could be abortion won't be available in Ohio, allowing only those who are wealthy enough to travel out of state to get abortions.

Jo Ingles is a professional journalist who covers politics and Ohio government for the Ohio Public Radio and Television for the Ohio Public Radio and Television Statehouse News Bureau. She reports on issues of importance to Ohioans including education, legislation, politics, and life and death issues such as capital punishment.