Ohio’s heartbeat bill—which prohibited abortions on any unborn human individual with a detectable heartbeat—was vetoed by Governor Kasich. He exercised the veto not on pro-abortion grounds, but out of concern that the legislation would be tied up in court and never go into effect. You’re all having fun debating the wisdom of that decision on our facebook page, and I encourage you to continue. But let me take this opportunity to highlight a victory that should not go unnoticed.
You may have heard this referred to as the “6 week ban.” But interestingly, the phrase “six weeks” appears nowhere in the bill. Six weeks happens to be when a baby’s heartbeat is typically detected, but the legislation was based on heartbeat, not age. What that means is that when abortion advocates consistently referred to it as the “6 week ban,” they were admitting a fact about early prenatal development. Moreover, they made “before most women even know they’re pregnant” their rallying cry: an admission that most abortions occur when the unborn child is not a clump of cells.
A Google News search for “heartbeat doesn’t know she’s pregnant” brings up over 56,000 results, largely from sources that oppose the right to life. Among them:
- Vox: “Ohio got a lot of attention last week for passing an extreme ‘heartbeat’ bill that would ban all abortion after a fetal pulse can be detected — or at around six weeks of pregnancy, which is before many women know they’re pregnant.”
- CNN: “This law is nicknamed a ‘Heartbeat Law’ because it states that abortion is prohibited as soon as a heartbeat can be detected in utero. That’s typically at around 6 weeks, depending on the woman in question and/or available technology. … At that point, many women don’t even know they are pregnant.”
- NPR: “Ohio’s Legislature has passed a bill that would ban abortion once a fetal heartbeat can be detected, which is typically around six weeks after conception — before many women even realize they’re pregnant.”
- Samantha Bee: “What the hell, Ohio? At six weeks, most women won’t even know they’re pregnant.”
Can you imagine if pro-life groups tried to buy advertising from those outlets with the message “Abortion stops a beating heart”? Most probably would have refused on ideological grounds, and even for those that didn’t, the expense would have been significant.
Instead, this legislation got notoriously pro-abortion media outlets to tell the truth about prenatal development, directly to their readers.
Nice job, Ohio legislature. As ever, the legal, cultural, and educational arenas build upon one another.