Lawmaker Questions Changes To Language About Women In 'Heartbeat Bill'

Apr 5, 2019

An Ohio House committee has received a new version of the "Heartbeat Bill," an abortion ban that could happen as early as six weeks into a pregnancy, before most women know they're pregnant.

State Rep. Janine Boyd (D-Cleveland) says the newer version of the Heartbeat Bill changes the language to protect the health of the fetus over the health of the woman. 

“The state is basically saying we are going to require all pregnant women to carry their pregnancy to term, no matter what," Boyd says.

The Ohio Senate passed the “Heartbeat Bill” in March, with exemptions for the health of the mother but no exemptions for cases involving rape or incest. The Senate's version of the bill included a passage that said "the state of Ohio has a legitimate interest from the outset of the pregnancy in protecting the health of the woman. The state of Ohio has a compelling interest from the outset of the pregnancy in protecting the life of an unborn human individual who may be born."

In the House's latest version, Boyd says, the section on the "health of the woman" has been removed.

“I mean, this is insane,” she says.

Boyd is calling on House Speaker Larry Householder to slow the bill down and put together a work group to examine all aspects of the legislation, including its effect on business development in Ohio. There’s no word on whether he will do that.

Gov. Mike DeWine previously said he supports the bill. Former Gov. John Kasich vetoed the “Heartbeat Bill” both times the legislature passed it during his eight-year tenure.

Pro-choice groups say they will sue to stop the "Heartbeat Bill" if it becomes law.