Gov. John Kasich has once again vetoed the six-week abortion ban known as the “Heartbeat Bill,” while signing into law another bill restricting abortions after 12 weeks.
On Friday, Kasich signed a bill that bans the “dilation and evacuation” method of abortion, the most common method used in the second trimester of pregnancy. Currently, Ohio law bans abortions after 20 weeks.
The “dilation and evacuation” ban contains no exceptions for rape or incest. It marks the 21st anti-abortion law signed during Kasich’s time as governor, and makes Ohio one of the most restrictive states when it comes to abortion.
Abortion opponents, who call the practice "dismememberment abortion," applauded the decision.
"With four years of pro-life Governor-elect Mike DeWine ahead of us, the prospect of ending abortion in Ohio has never looked better," said Ohio Right to Life president Michael Gonidakis in a statement.
In its own statement, NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio called Kasich "reckless and irresponsible," and criticized him for signing bills with no exceptions for rape or incest.
"As a result of Kasich’s barrage of laws that criminalize doctors, many of the best and brightest medical providers have left Ohio, with still more deciding not to come here in the first place," said NARAL director Kellie Copeland. "Kasich’s actions today are his worst yet.”
Just as he did in 2016, Kasich rejected a bill that would ban abortions once a fetal heartbeat is detected. HB 258, known as the “Heartbeat Bill,” could ban the practice as early as six weeks into a pregnancy, before many women even know they’re pregnant. It has no exceptions for rape, incest, or the life of the mother, although lawmakers did remove a provision in the bill that would require use of a transvaginal ultrasound.
Still, Kasich warned lawmakers he would veto it anyway. In a statement following his veto, Kasich explained that he believes the "Heartbeat Bill" to be unconstitutional and would set the state up for a costly legal battle.
"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," Kasich wrote. "Therefore, this veto is in the public interest."
It’s not clear that the Republican-dominated legislature, which scheduled to return to session next week, has enough votes to override his veto.