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Why Ohio's "Heartbeat Bill" is Truly Heartless

Mike Brickner,
ACLU of Ohio
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December 14, 2011

Ohio lawmakers are poised this week to pass the most restrictive law in the nation preventing families from making important health decisions on pregnancy. House Bill 125 would prohibit abortions after a fetal heartbeat is detected — as early as six weeks into a pregnancy. That means even before a woman may know she is pregnant, she and her family will not have a full range of medical options available to them.

Proponents of the bill have dubbed it the “Heartbeat Bill” — but its effect would be truly heartless for Ohio families. Make no mistake — the goal of supporters of H.B. 125 is to ban abortion in Ohio.

Pregnancies are among the most important and deeply personal life experiences a family encounters. Every pregnancy is different — and so is every family. When a woman discovers she is pregnant, she often must discuss with her loved ones intensely personal issues such as health concerns, finances, and other needed childcare resources. These discussions often allow families to make the best decisions about healthcare for their circumstances.

H. B. 125 would take the ability to make healthcare decisions away from families. If the bill passes into law, the ACLU has promised a court challenge.

The Ohio House has already passed H.B. 125. The state Senate conducted its second hearing on the bill this week. Rumors swirl around the statehouse that legislators may pass the bill before leaving for winter recess. If passed, the bill would only produce costly legal expenses for the state, and sap more funds from state programs that actually help families.

Ohio has many critical issues that need addressed in the statehouse, but none of those involve passing unconstitutional laws that would deprive families’ their right to decide private healthcare issues.

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