HB 69, commonly known as the “Heartbeat Bill,” bans abortions after the first fetal heartbeat is detected, which typically occurs as early as the sixth week of pregnancy.
Doctors who perform an abortion after detection will be guilty of a fifth degree felony. Abortions are only permitted if there is risk of death or a “serious risk of the substantial and irreversible impairment of a major bodily function of the pregnant woman.”
A woman is required to sign a form acknowledging she has received information that the “unborn human individual” has a fetal heartbeat and that she is aware of the statistical probability of bringing her pregnancy to term. Doctors must then declare in writing why an abortion was performed and record and report this information.
HB 69 defines contraceptive as “a drug, device, or chemical that prevents conception.” Additionally, the bill defines conception as “fertilization.”
LCS Legislation Status
Our Take on This Bill
The ACLU of Ohio strongly opposes this bill as it is political interference in a woman’s most personal, private medical decisions.
HB 69 will ban abortions as early as six weeks into pregnancy, eliminating a full range of medical options before a woman may even know she is pregnant.
Additionally, the bill’s narrow definition of conception as fertilization could potentially have the greatest effect on rape and incest victims, by preventing these and all other women from accessing contraceptives at a time when they need it most. If the bill is used to prevent access to the morning after pill, it could actually result in more unwanted pregnancies and consequently, more abortions.
Instead of allowing a woman to exercise her autonomy and to decide for herself what is in her best interest, this bill decides for her. Legislators should not deny a woman basic healthcare because they disagree with her decision.
Introduced in the House on 2/17/15
Referred to the House Community & Family Advancement Committee on 2/18/15
Received Committee hearings on 3/3/15, 3/10/15, 3/17/15, 3/25/15
Passed out of the House Community & Family Advancement Committee on 3/25/15
Passed the House on 3/25/15
Introduced in the Senate on 3/26/15
Referred to the Senate Health and Human Services Committee on 4/14/15
Although this piece of legislation technically stalled in the Senate, the 6-week abortion ban was inserted into an unrelated bill (H.B. 493) during lame duck, which was subsequently passed by both the Senate and the House. Governor Kasich used his line item veto to remove the 6-week ban from the bill before signing it into law.
Community and Family Advancement (H), Health and Human Services (S)