Update: Heartbeat Bill Really, Truly Halted … For Now

Seems like just the other week that Ohio politicians were trying to place severe restrictions on when women in the state could have abortions. Oh wait, that’s right, it was: right after the election, anti-choice Republicans began trying to push through a modified version of the previously-failed “heartbeat bill,” which would ban abortions after a fetal heartbeat could be detected.

Looks like the second attempt proved no more successful, as on Tuesday the state senate president said that there were no plans to vote on the bill before the legislative session ends in December. According to an Associated Press report, both lawmakers and Ohio Right to Life were concerned that banning abortions at such an early stage (fetal heartbeat can generally be detected by the sixth week of pregnancy) would be unconstitutional and could jeopardize “other abortion limits.” Senate President Tom Niehaus also said that he wants to “continue our focus on jobs and the economy … [t]hat’s what people are concerned about.”

Well, yeah. That’s probably what they were concerned about the first time this bill was introduced, too. Yet a whole bunch of elected politicians still decided that it was more important to grandstand about a blatantly unconstitutional bill, rather than direct their time and energy into more pressing and relevant issues. I’d like to hope that they wouldn’t make that mistake a third time, but let’s be honest, common sense doesn’t seem to be the driving force here.

Ohio Anti-Choicers Resurrect Heartbeat Bill

Less than a week after Barack Obama won Ohio in the presidential election, state Republicans have decided that there’s no time like the present to resurrect a controversial, possibly unconstitutional, and already-rejected bill that would sharply restrict abortions.

The so-called “Heartbeat Bill,” would ban abortions after a fetal heartbeat could be detected—which can be as early as 18 days in some pregnancies, or before a lot of women even know they’re pregnant. When the state’s House Health Action Committee first heard testimony on the proposed bill, two of the witnesses to “testify” were fetuses: that is, two pregnant women were given ultrasounds in the hearing room. [Read more...]

Anti-Choice News: The Good, the Bad, and the Ludicrous

Between a massive book deadline and an overseas trip, I feel like I’ve spent the past six weeks totally unaware of any and all current news. Which has been kind of nice, to be honest, but also means that it slipped my notice that the heinous Ohio “heartbeat bill” died a merciful death in the state senate. Turns out that while the state’s house was perfectly fine with allowing abortions to be outlawed as soon as a fetal heartbeat could be detected – which can be as early as six weeks – more rational heads prevailed in the senate, where the measure didn’t even come up for a vote. Interestingly, even a number of anti-choice politicians and activists were against the bill, contending (probably rightly) that it was too extreme to withstand the almost-inevitable court challenge that would follow its passage. While I would have rather seen the bill defeated on the grounds that it’s incredibly restrictive and blatantly places fetal rights above the rights of women, it’s still nice to see that women in Ohio will retain the right to make their own reproductive choices.

In other “hey, remember this crazy anti-choice idea?” news, Arizona Rep. Trent Franks is at it again. Earlier this year, the anti-choice politician decided that, despite not representing the District of Columbia, he was totally entitled to tell women in D.C. what to do with their bodies. Franks introduced the “District of Columbia Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act,” which would ban abortions after 20 weeks in the District, and recently a House subcommittee held hearings on the bill. Franks did not allow Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton, who actually does represent D.C. residents, to testify at the hearing, although he did see fit to declare late-term abortions “the greatest human rights atrocity in the United States today.” [Read more...]

Pro-Choice News Roundup

San Francisco Crisis Pregnancy Center Law Targets Anti-Abortion Groups. Huffington Post

To Curb Abortions, Opponents Focus on the Supply-Side. NPR.

French feminists say “au voir” to mademoiselle. Christian Science Monitor.

Abortion Drug bill In Oklahoma Blocked by Judge. Associated Press.

Ottawa Woman Streams Birth of Son Live on Internet. Huffington Post.

Anti-Abortion Groups Push ‘Heart Beat’ Bills in 50 States. Think Progress

Anita Hill Hearing Woke a Generation of Feminists. The Root.

Ohio Politicians Approve “Heartbeat” Bill

Aw, hell no. Remember the so-called “heartbeat bill” from a few months back? The Ohio House of Representatives was considering a bill that would ban abortions after a heartbeat was detected – which can be as early as six weeks into pregnancy. The hearings for the bill were somewhat sensational, given that the legislature allowed a fetus to “testify.” And either that fetus was really persuasive, or Ohio politicians are that dismissive of women, because the bill has passed the House.

If this bill is enacted into law, it will be the most restrictive abortion law in the country. It’s also a direct challenge to Roe v. Wade, which clearly sets the standard at viability. And while a six-week fetus may have a heartbeat, there is absolutely no way that it could survive outside the womb.

[Read more...]