A history of heartbeat abortion bills

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Ohio became the third state to have passed a "heartbeat bill" on Tuesday, banning most forms of abortion after 12 weeks. Ohio's bill includes an exception allowing for abortion to preserve the health of the mother, but critics say the bill's restriction is unconstitutional.

Of the nine states known to have introduced heartbeat abortion bills, only Arkansas, North Dakota, and Ohio have successfully passed the bills. Arkansas' and North Dakota's bills were challenged in court and found unconstitutional by a panel of the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals in similar opinions.

As passed by the Ohio Senate (PDF text), the portion of HB 493 restricting abortion reads:

Sec. 2919.195. (A) Except as provided in division (B) of this section, no person shall knowingly and purposefully perform or induce an abortion on a pregnant woman with the specific intent of causing or abetting the termination of the life of the unborn human individual the pregnant woman is carrying and whose fetal heartbeat has been detected in accordance with division (A) of section 2919.192 of the Revised Code.

Whoever violates this division is guilty of performing or inducing an abortion after the detection of a fetal heartbeat, a felony of the fifth degree.

(B) Division (A) of this section does not apply to a physician who performs a medical procedure that, in the physician's reasonable medical judgment, is designed or intended to prevent the death of the pregnant woman or to prevent a serious risk of the substantial and irreversible impairment of a major bodily function of the pregnant woman.


Update: Ohio Governor John Kasich vetoed the bill, but did sign a subsequent bill banning abortion after 20 weeks.