COLUMBUS, Ohio (CNS) — By one vote, the Ohio Senate failed to overturn the governor’s veto of a restrictive abortion bill.
The legislation, called the “heartbeat bill,” would have prohibited abortions at the first detectable heartbeat, or as early as six weeks of pregnancy.
On Dec. 27, the state senators voted 19-13 to override the governor’s veto, but it needed 20 votes to pass.
Republican Senate President Larry Obhof said the legislation would come up again and with a better chance of passing, in the next session.
“We will have a supermajority that is pro-life in both chambers in the next General Assembly. We’re getting sworn in in less than two weeks, and we have a governor coming in who has said he would sign that bill,” he told reporters.
The legislation previously passed the Ohio House and Senate and was sent to Republican Gov. John Kasich who vetoed the bill Dec. 21.
On Dec. 27, the Ohio House gained enough votes, 61-28, to override the governor’s veto, which then fell short in the Senate.
Kasich vetoed this same legislation two years ago, and the Ohio General Assembly was not able to override it.
The governor has described the bill as unconstitutional and one that would cost hundreds of thousands of dollars to defend in court.
Three years ago, the Catholic Conference of Ohio said it was neutral on this bill. It said it supported “the life-affirming intent” of the legislation but it had to “take into account the opinion of legal experts, who caution that the provisions in the proposed legislation are likely to be found unconstitutional.”
In a statement at the time, the conference said it was unlikely that a “complete ban of abortions after a heartbeat has been detected will be able to withstand court challenge.”
The Ohio Catholic Conference, the public policy arm of the state’s bishops, also said it “encourages the enactment of effective laws that will provide maximum protection for unborn persons,” adding that “legislation often involves prudential judgments as to the most effective and timely means for advancing the protection of unborn children.”
Marshal Pitchford, chairman of the Ohio Right to Life’s board of trustees, said in a Dec. 27 statement prior to the Senate vote that if the General Assembly did not override the governor’s veto, Ohio Right to Life would support the pro-life organizations working tirelessly to pass this bill during the next General Assembly.
“We make this public commitment today,” to get this bill to Gov.-elect Mike DeWine’s desk, she said.
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