COLUMBUS, Ohio — Republican governor and former presidential candidate John Kasich vetoed a bill on Tuesday that would have banned abortion when a heartbeat is detected, while signing into law legislation that bans abortion after 20 weeks gestation.
“Certain provisions … are clearly contrary to the Supreme Court of the United States’ current rulings on abortion,” he said in an explanatory statement released by his office.
As previously reported, the Unborn Heartbeat Protection Act was approved by the Senate 21-10 last Tuesday, being attached as an amendment to a child abuse bill. It then passed the House 56-39.
“A person who intends to perform an abortion on a pregnant woman shall determine if there is the presence of a fetal heartbeat of the unborn human individual that the pregnant woman is carrying according to standard medical practice,” the Act reads in part.
“Except when a medical emergency exists that prevents compliance with this division, no person shall perform an abortion on a pregnant woman prior to determining if the fetus the pregnant woman is carrying has a detectable fetal heartbeat,” it declares, punishing violators with up to a year of jail time and/or other disciplinary action.
Kasich said that while he has “deep respect” for pro-life groups and their efforts to protect life, he also realizes that the courts have struck down heartbeat bills in two other states, and the U.S. Supreme Court has declined to hear appeals in those cases. He opined that Ohio would likewise lose if the effort was made law, and doesn’t want taxpayer money going to pay the legal fees of pro-abortion groups.
“The State of Ohio will be the losing party in that lawsuit and, as the losing party, the State of Ohio will be forced to pay hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars to cover the legal fees for the pro-choice activists’ lawyers,” he outlined. “Furthermore, such a defeat invites additional challenges to Ohio’s strong legal protections for unborn life. Therefore, this veto is in the public interest.”
However, Kasich, who identifies as pro-life with the exceptions of rape, incest and the life of the mother, agreed with Senate Bill 127, which bans abortions after 20 weeks (five months gestation).
“No person shall purposely perform or induce or purposely attempt to perform or induce an abortion on a pregnant woman when the probable post-fertilization age of the unborn child is twenty weeks or greater,” the legislation reads, allowing for abortions in cases where the life of the mother is deemed to be at risk.
“I agree with Ohio Right to Life and other leading, pro-life advocates that SB 127 is the best, most legally sound and sustainable approach to protecting the sanctity of human life,” Kasich said in a statement.
Ohio Right to Life had supported the bill while staying neutral on the Unborn Heartbeat Protection Act, outlining like Kasich that they didn’t believe the measure would hold up in court and that Right to Life supports an “incremental approach” on abortion.
“We believe in an incremental approach,” President Mike Gonidakis told CNN. “When you overreach, sometimes the courts get the last say. There’s a reason why no state has a ‘Heartbeat Bill’ yet.”
As previously reported, in an introductory lecture to his course on obstetrics in 1854, Philadelphia Dr. Hugh Lennox Hodge explained that if a woman were to come to a medical doctor in pursuit of an abortion, “he must, as it were, grasp the conscience of his weak and erring patient and let her know in language not to be misunderstood that she is responsible to her Creator for the life of the being within her.”
“So low, gentleman, is the moral sense of community on this subject. So ignorant are even the greater number of individuals, that even mothers in many instances shrink not at the commission of this crime, but will voluntarily destroy their own progeny, in violation of every natural sentiment, and in opposition to the laws of God and man,” he said.
“The procuring abortion is ‘a base and unmanly act,’” Hodge also said, quoting in part text from a court ruling of his day. “It is a crime against the natural feelings of man, against the welfare and safety of females, against the peace and prosperity of society, against the divine command ‘Thou shalt not kill.’ It is murder.”