Ohio House again passes 'heartbeat' anti-abortion bill

By Kim Palmer CLEVELAND (Reuters) - The Ohio House of Representatives on Wednesday again passed a bill that would outlaw abortions once a fetal heartbeat can be detected, or at about six weeks, but it is not expected to become law. A heartbeat bill previously passed the Republican-controlled House in 2011, only to die in the Republican-led Senate. The bill is opposed by Republican Governor John Kasich, along with some anti-abortion activists, who think it would be unconstitutional. The House vote on Wednesday was 55-40. There are no exceptions for rape or incest. “An unborn child has a beating heart. Should we allow that heart to be stopped?” said Ohio Rep. Christina Hagan, a Republican sponsor, quoted in The Columbus Dispatch. Similar legislation was introduced in the House in 2013 but it failed a floor vote in 2014. "With the passage of HB 69, Ohio Republicans have shown they'll stop at nothing in their quest to deny women their rights, no matter how dangerous their efforts may be," said Ohio State Representative Kathy DiCristofaro, chair of the Democratic Women's Caucus. Other anti-abortion bills also are under consideration in the Ohio House, including a 20-week ban. Last spring, a federal judge permanently blocked North Dakota from enforcing the ban on abortions after a heartbeat could be detected. The law was at the time the country's most restrictive abortion law. The landmark 1973 U.S. Supreme Court decision, Roe v. Wade, made it legal for women to have abortions until viability. (Reporting by Kim Palmer; Editing by Mary Wisniewski, Peter Cooney and Bill Trott)

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