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Ohio Senate Halts Plans for 'Heartbeat' Bill, Measure Targeting Planned Parenthood

Ohio Senate Halts Plans for 'Heartbeat' Bill, Measure Targeting Planned Parenthood

November 28, 2012 — An Ohio Senate leader on Tuesday said he will not bring to the floor a bill (HB 125) that would ban abortion after a fetal heartbeat is detectable, the AP/Sacramento Bee reports (Sanner/Carr Smyth, AP/Sacramento Bee, 11/27).

The bill, which could prohibit abortion before women even learn they are pregnant, does not include exceptions for cases of rape, incest or to save a woman's life (Women's Health Policy Report, 11/13).

State Senate President Tom Niehaus (R) said he stopped the bill from moving forward because he was concerned that it would be found unconstitutional.

Supporters of the bill hoped that a legal challenge could lead to the overturning of Roe v. Wade. However, some antiabortion-rights groups, including Ohio Right to Life, did not support the measure because they believed the limit would be found unconstitutional, thus affirming abortion rights and potentially undermining other Ohio antiabortion laws.

Kellie Copeland, executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio, said, "We don't believe for a second that this threat is over -- perhaps delayed, but not over" (AP/Sacramento Bee, 11/27).

Planned Parenthood Bill Sidelined

Niehaus also said he will not move forward with a bill (HB 298) that would place Planned Parenthood last in line for public family planning funds, the AP/Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports.

He said the Legislature would not have enough time to consider the policy issues related to the measure.

Niehaus added that he has considered the "entirety of the work" provided by Planned Parenthood clinics and concluded that the organization offers needed services that are unavailable elsewhere (AP/Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 11/27).