Ohio Senate Leader Unsure Whether Chamber Will Vote on 'Heartbeat' Bill

November 17, 2011 — Ohio Senate President Tom Niehaus (R) on Tuesday said he has not decided whether his chamber will vote on the so-called "heartbeat" bill before the end of the year, AP/Lancaster Eagle-Gazette reports (AP/Lancaster Eagle-Gazette, 11/16).

The bill (HB 125), approved by the Ohio House in June, would ban abortion after the first detectable fetal heartbeat -- which can occur as early as six weeks -- without any exceptions for rape or incest (Women's Health Policy Report, 6/30).

Niehaus has convened a group of lawmakers to research the measure, which has divided the state's antiabortion-rights advocates. Ohio Right to Life is concerned that the bill could prompt a legal challenge that might jeopardize other restrictions on abortion in the state. Niehaus said he wants the research group to report its findings this month (AP/Lancaster Eagle-Gazette, 11/16).