On Thursday, two Republican members of the Ohio House, Christina Hagan of Alliance and Lynn Wachtmann of Napoleon, announced plans reintroduce the “heartbeat bill.” The legislation would prohibit any abortion after a fetal heartbeat can be detected. Already, a federal judge in North Dakota has declared a similar restriction “invalid and unconstitutional.”
Hagan and Wachtmann want their own court fight, joining others in the hope that the Supreme Court eventually would overturn the Roe v. Wade ruling of four decades ago. What the high court has held since is that no law should place an “undue burden” on a women consulting with her family and doctor about whether to choose an abortion.
A fetal heartbeat can be detected as early as six weeks into a pregnancy — or before many women know they are pregnant. In other words, they would be left no choice.
Haven’t Republicans at the Statehouse already done enough to intrude on what are private decisions belonging to a woman with the help of her doctor? The new state budget strips funds from family planning providers, all but ensures the closure of abortion clinics and gives doctors orders about how to conduct their medical practice.
Now launch a bitter and costly battle in the legislature and then the courts? The time and money would be better spent on efforts to reduce the number of unintended pregnancies.