Ohio Governor Mike DeWine has signed into law a bill that bans abortions after the baby's heart starts beating, which can be as early as five or six weeks into pregnancy.
Senate Bill 23, also dubbed the "heartbeat bill" makes it a fifth-degree felony for a medical professional to perform an abortion after the child's heart has already begun beating. The bill has an exception to save the life of a mother, but there are no exceptions for rape and incest.
The Republican governor's decision makes Ohio the sixth state in the nation to pass a heartbeat law. Ohio's previous governor, Republican John Kasich vetoed the measure twice while he was in office. He believed the law would spark an expensive court battle and likely be found unconstitutional.
The American Civil Liberties Union immediately threatened to take legal action against Ohio for the newly passed heartbeat bill.
"Similar versions of this unconstitutional abortion ban stand 0-4 in federal court. Soon to be 0-5," the ACLU Ohio chapter tweeted."
Similar versions of this unconstitutional abortion ban stand 0-4 in federal court.
Soon to be 0-5. https://t.co/1QIGRW7K0f
— ACLU of Ohio (@acluohio) April 11, 2019
Cincinnati.com reports that Planned Parenthood also vowed to take the battle to the Supreme Court.
"If this is what it takes, we'll see you at the Supreme Court," said Iris Harvey, chief executive officer and president of Planned Parenthood of Greater Ohio.
However, state Rep. Candice Keller, R-Middletown, claimed most Americans agree with Ohio.
"Americans and Ohioans have been waiting for this bill," said Keller. "They agree that a child is a child when their heart is beating."
Other states including Florida, Georgia, Maryland, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, South Carolina and West Virginia are among the states that have either passed "heartbeat" bills or are attempting to do so.
Meanwhile, Democrats in states like New York, New Mexico, Maryland, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Virginia have passed or are pushing for bills that allow abortions up until the moment of birth or even after the fully-developed child has already been delivered.