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Kasich vetoes Ohio's 'heartbeat' abortion bill, but approves 20-week ban

Kasich and anti-abortion advocates preferred the 20-week ban due to its better chance of withstanding a legal challenge.

By Doug G. Ware
Kasich vetoes Ohio's 'heartbeat' abortion bill, but approves 20-week ban
Ohio Gov. John Kasich on Tuesday vetoed legislation that would have banned abortions in the state after as few as six weeks after conception -- or anytime a fetus' heartbeat can be detected. Kasich and anti-abortion advocates believe a law allowing abortion after such a short period of time might easily be defeated in appellate courts. File Photo by Molly Riley/UPI | License Photo

COLUMBUS, Ohio, Dec. 13 (UPI) -- Ohio Gov. John Kasich vetoed an anti-abortion bill on Tuesday that would have barred the procedure just weeks after a fetus is conceived.

The so-called "heartbeat" bill would have outlawed abortions in Ohio anytime after a fetus' heartbeat an be detected, which experts say can be as few as six weeks.

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"I have worked hard to strengthen Ohio's protections for the sanctity of human life ... however, [provisions of the bill] are clearly contrary to the Supreme Court of the United States' current rulings on abortion," Kasich said in a veto message.

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The governor added that similar proposals in two other states, North Dakota and Arkansas, have been declared unconstitutional by federal courts and both were refused a hearing by the Supreme Court.

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"The state of Ohio will be the losing party in that lawsuit," he said, also noting that such legal proceedings have a good chance of costing taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars. "Therefore, this veto is in the public interest."

The bill was passed on to the governor largely along partisan lines, but it didn't have unanimous support -- even from anti-abortion advocates, who recognized the proposed law's limited chances in appellate courts.

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In fact, Ohio Right to Life asked Kasich to veto the legislation.

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Instead, Kasich signed a bill that outlaws abortions after 20 weeks, a period that faces a much smaller chance of being defeated in court. Fifteen other states presently have laws banning abortion 20 weeks after conception.

"Both are pre-viability bans, but we believe [the 20-week ban] is the best strategy for overturning Roe v. Wade and will ultimately prove most palatable to the Supreme Court," Ohio Right to Life spokeswoman Katherine Franklin told The Hill. "It's not just the Ohio strategy but the national strategy."

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