Demonstrating once again his penchant for moral cowardice, Ohio Gov. John Kasich vetoed a bill on Friday that would have banned abortions on unborn babies with detectable heartbeats.
According to LifeNews, Gov. Kasich vetoed the bill arguing that it would not survive in a court challenge. He did the same in 2016 for similar reasons. The difference between then and now, however, is the addition of Justice Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court – the bill could theoretically survive if it went that far. Kasich also argued that the legal challenges would cost taxpayers too much money.
“As governor I have worked hard to strengthen Ohio’s protections for the sanctity of human life, and I have a deep respect for my fellow members of the pro-life community and their ongoing efforts in defense of unborn life,” he said in a statement. “However, the central provision of Sub. H.B. 258, that an abortion cannot be performed if a heartbeat has been detected in the unborn child, is contrary to the Supreme Court of the United States’ current rulings on abortion.”
“As the losing party, the state of Ohio will be forced to pay hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars to cover the legal fees for the pro-choice activists’ lawyers,” Kasich added.
State House Bill 258 passed in a 58-35 vote and sailed through the State Senate. Most abortions in Ohio would be effectively banned had Kasich signed it into law.
“The controversial legislation would ban most abortions in Ohio if it becomes law,” reported LifeNews in November. “An unborn baby’s heart begins beating around six weeks, though new research suggests it may begin as early as 18 days after conception.”
Abortion providers could also be charged with a felony for breaking the law by killing a baby with a detected heartbeat.
Proponents of the new law said the potential legal challenges should not matter.
“The point is: it’s time. It doesn’t matter if the governor is with us or against us,” said state Rep. Christina Hagan, a sponsor of the bill. “Motherhood isn’t easy but it’s necessary.”
Other pro-life (largely female) lawmakers pushed similar arguments.
“(Abortion) is not a constitutional right,” said Rep. Candice Keller (R-Middletown). “If you don’t know that, you need to read the Constitution.”
“Today, let us stand up for the most innocent among us: the unborn,” Rep. Kristina Roegner said.
To Kasich’s credit, he did sign a second pro-life bill on Friday that bans dismemberment abortions, which are commonly committed against fully formed second-trimester babies.
Heartbeat bills in favor of the unborn have been passed in both North Dakota and Arkansas but were later overturned by the courts. In the ruling, the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals said such laws violate Supreme Court precedent.
“Because there is no genuine dispute that (North Dakota’s law) generally prohibits abortions before viability — as the Supreme Court has defined that concept — and because we are bound by Supreme Court precedent holding that states may not prohibit pre-viability abortions, we must affirm the district court’s grant of summary judgment to the plaintiffs,” the court said.
The U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear an appeal of the case in 2016, but that was when Justice Anthony Kennedy resided on the bench. Kennedy’s replacement, Justice Kavanaugh, has not indicated if he would grant a hearing to such a case if the time came.