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Ohio Outlaws Abortions After Fetal Heartbeat Is Detected

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Ohio Republican Gov. Mike DeWine on Thursday signed a bill banning abortions in the presence of a fetal heartbeat.

His signature comes after the Ohio General Assembly passed the bill late Tuesday and sent it to the governor’s desk for approval. The bill passed the House Wednesday in a 56-39 vote, shortly after which the state Senate voted 18-13 to approve House changes to the bill, the Dayton Daily News reported.

Physicians face fines up to $20,000 if they violate the law. A heartbeat usually becomes detectable between six and nine weeks in pregnancy.

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Pro-life groups also applauded the bill’s passage.

Republican state Rep. Candice Keller called the legislation “the most compassionate bill we’ve ever passed,” The Associated Press reported.

The heartbeat bill essentially prohibits all abortions, according to a maternal fetal medicine specialist, Dr. Michael Cackovic of Ohio State University Medical Center, according to the AP. “You’re going to be doing more procedures and subjecting women to more procedures and medications to get abortions, because they’re rushing between that four and five weeks to get it accomplished,” Cackovic said.

Democratic state Rep. Michele Lepore-Hagan also expressed worry over the bill. “I’m concerned that we will have companies that will choose not to locate here due to our oppressive laws. I’m concerned that doctors will leave the state of Ohio,” she said, according to the AP.

Former Republican Gov. John Kasich vetoed heartbeat bills in 2016 and 2018.

“Gov. Mike DeWine is the strongest pro-life governor in the nation. With a stroke of a pen, he’s saved countless lives in the state of Ohio,” Citizens for Community Values President Aaron Baer said in a statement. CCV is a pro-life group that advocates for public policy reflecting the truth of the Gospel, according to its Twitter.

Governors in Arkansas, North Dakota, Iowa, Mississippi and Kentucky have signed bills outlawing abortion in the presence of a fetal heartbeat. Many of the abortion bans, however, have remained ineffective following court orders prohibiting enforcement, Cleveland.com reported.

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