Kasich vetoes the Heartbeat Bill but still restricts abortion

. December 13, 2016.

As of 4:30pm on Tuesday, December 13, Ohio Governor John Kasich has vetoed the Heartbeat Bill. The proposal was originally passed by the Ohio House on Tuesday, December 6.

The bill would have banned abortion once a fetal heartbeat can be detected, often as early as six weeks into pregnancy.

While this is the first time Kasich has vetoed a bill restricting abortion, he quietly passed another: Senate Bill 127, often referred to as the 20-week ban.

“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. 

The 20-week ban is an Ohio Right to Life-supported bill that forbids the termination of “a human pregnancy of a pain-capable unborn child.” It was passed by the Ohio House on Friday, December 8 with a 64-29 vote.

Previous law forbid abortion after 24 weeks, except to save the mother’s life and in cases of rape and incest. Senate Bill 127 outlaws abortion after 20 weeks and makes no exceptions for cases of rape and incest.

While Democratic Rep. Teresa Fedor attempted to amend SB127 to make exceptions for victims of rape and incest, the amendment failed.

The Ohio State Medical Association and American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists have publicly released a letter asking Kasich to veto both bills. Read the letter here.

For our coverage on the Heartbeat Bill—
“How To Keep Abortion Available As
A Practical Option For Ohioans:
(Watch Out, Kasich— We’re Calling You)”
— click here. 


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DECEMBER 9, 2016

Governor John R. Kasich
Office of the Governor
State of Ohio
Riffe Center, 30th Floor
77 S. High St.
Columbus, OH 43215

Dear Governor Kasich,
I am writing to strongly encourage you to veto House Bill 493 and Senate Bill 127 because of specific provisions that allow for civil and criminal penalties for clinicians who provide medical care related to women’s reproductive health issues.

It is the policy of the Ohio State Medical Association (OSMA) to neither promote nor oppose legislative proposals related to the legality of abortion procedures. However, separate OSMA policy opposes legislation that criminalizes or otherwise penalizes any medical procedure that is considered a standard of care.

While the scope of medical practice is and should be under legislative control, determining the appropriateness for performing standard medical procedures has traditionally been – and should continue to be – left to the expertise of medical professionals.

On behalf of nearly 16,000 members of the OSMA, I appreciate your attention to this letter and consideration for our request. Should you care to discuss these matters further, please feel free to contact Tim Maglione, the OSMA’s Senior Director of Government Relations at 614-527-6762 or tmaglione@osma.org.


Brian Bachelder, M.D.
President, Ohio State Medical Association