On the Friday before the holiday weekend, Ohio Governor John Kasich vetoed the so-called “heartbeat bill,” a measure that would ban abortions after a fetal heartbeat is detected, which occurs as early as around six weeks. It was the second time Kasich rejected the bill in two years. But at the same time, Kasich signed another extremely restrictive abortion law that bans dilation and evacuation, the most common procedure used in second-trimester abortions. Similar laws have been blocked by the courts in other states.
Under the bill that Kasich signed, if physicians perform a dilation and evacuation procedure, they can be charged with a fourth-degree felony. There is an exception if the mother’s life is at risk, but not for rape or incest. Kasich has also previously signed into law a 20-week abortion ban.
And despite Kasich’s veto, the heartbeat bill is not necessarily dead. Even if there are not enough lawmakers to overturn the veto, incoming governor Mike DeWine has indicated that he would sign a heartbeat bill.
Not to mention that Janet Porter, the woman who is behind both Ohio and the federal heartbeat bills, is unlikely to end her crusade anytime soon. Porter told The Chronicle-Telegram that anti-abortion activists in other states have been picking up on her lobbying tactics, which has included sending teddy bears and balloons to legislators’ offices. Porter has championed the worst conservative causes for decades, including spreading Barack Obama birther conspiracies and rallying to defend Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore after it was reported that he was a serial child abuser.
Kasich might be on his way out, but his signing of restrictive abortion ban after abortion ban has left the door wide open for conservative activists like Porter to push their radical agendas in Ohio and beyond.