Ohio governor OKs 20-week abortion ban, nixes heartbeat bill

AP Photo

COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Latest on Ohio Gov. John Kasich’s signing into law a ban on abortions after 20 weeks (all times local):

4:45 p.m.

Abortion rights groups are criticizing Ohio Gov. John Kasich for his decision to sign a bill into law banning abortions after 20 weeks.

Planned Parenthood calls the ban dangerous legislation that blocks a woman from making important medical decisions during her pregnancy.

NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio says the 20-week ban has no exceptions for rape or incest and would allow abortions only if a woman is on the brink of death or suffering permanent organ damage.

Ohio Right To Life praised the Republican governor for signing the ban, saying it would save “hundreds of unborn lives” annually and allow Ohio to directly challenge Roe v. Wade.

The group also supported Kasich’s decision to veto the heartbeat bill, which would bar abortions at the first detectable fetal heartbeat.

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4 p.m.

Ohio Gov. John Kasich has signed a 20-week abortion ban while vetoing stricter provisions in a separate measure that would have barred the procedure at the first detectable fetal heartbeat.

The Republican governor acted on both proposals Tuesday, the same day they landed on this desk.

The heartbeat bill prohibited most abortions as early as six weeks into pregnancy. Its provisions cleared the Republican-led Legislature last week after being tucked into separate legislation.

Similar measures elsewhere have faced legal challenges, and detractors in Ohio feared such legislation would lead to a costly fight in the courts. Opponents predicted it would be found unconstitutional if it became law.

Kasich opposes abortion rights. The 20-week ban is similar to those now in effect in 15 states.

Legislators could override his veto.

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1:45 p.m.

Two differing abortion bans have arrived at Ohio Gov. John Kasich’s (KAY’-sikz) desk, and lobbying is intensifying for and against the measures.

One bill prohibits abortions after the 20-week mark, when proponents assert a fetus can feel pain. The second bars the procedure at the first detectable heartbeat, as early as six weeks into pregnancy.

The anti-abortion group Ohio Right to Life has asked the Republican governor to sign the 20-week ban and not to sign the heartbeat bill provisions. It calls a “pain-capable” ban the only “viable way forward” to sparking the legal challenge that could end abortion nationally.

The 16,000-member Ohio State Medical Association asked Kasich to veto both bills. The physicians’ group says it doesn’t take positions on abortion but opposes criminalizing a procedure that’s part of standard care.

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1 p.m.

A judge has ruled that one of Ohio’s few remaining abortion clinics can remain open while fighting to keep its state operating license.

Montgomery County Common Pleas Judge Mary Wiseman issued an emergency order Monday to stay and suspend state health director Rick Hodges’ Nov. 30 order against Women’s Med Center of Dayton while the center appeals.

Hodges revoked the license on grounds the facility lacked a required transfer agreement with a hospital for emergencies and failed to name an adequate number of backup physicians to qualify for a variance.

The center says evolving state abortion laws have required an increasingly larger number of doctors despite a smaller number being ample over the years.

Wiseman found closing the facility during the appeal would harm to Women’s Med and its clientele.

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