Ohio Senate Passes New Abortion Restrictions

September 29, 2011 — The Ohio Senate on Tuesday voted 23-8 to approve legislation (HB 63) that would put new requirements on judges who are considering whether to allow a minor to have an abortion without parental consent, the AP/Houston Chronicle reports.

The measure would require the judge to ask if the minor understands the physical and emotional effects of having an abortion. In addition, it would require the judge to ask the minor if she had been guided on how to answer the questions.

The House already has passed the bill, but it must approve the Senate's changes to the legislation before sending it to the governor (AP/Houston Chronicle, 9/27).

'Heartbeat' Bill Splits Ohio Antiabortion Advocates

Meanwhile, antiabortion advocates in Ohio are at odds over a measure (HB 125), known as the "heartbeat" bill, that would ban abortions once a fetal heartbeat is detected, which usually occurs six or seven weeks into pregnancy, the Columbus Dispatch reports.

Janet Porter, former legislative director of Ohio Right to Life, lobbied for the bill's passage in the House, which occurred in June. However, Mike Gonidakis, executive director of the organization, declined to support the bill, saying, "Timing is everything. ... I don't want to get set back 100 years because we pushed too hard to take down (Roe v. Wade)."

Jack Willke -- founder of National Right to Life and current president of International Right to Life -- resigned from the Ohio Right to Life board over the decision. He said Gonidakis' judgment "is simply wrong." Willke said most Ohio chapters support the bill. However, Gonidakis said it was the board's decision to oppose the bill.

The discord comes as the number of abortions has declined in Ohio in the past 10 years, according to the Dispatch.

The bill is now being considered by the Senate (Stucky, Columbus Dispatch, 9/28).