Larry Obhof made a point worth emphasizing as he spoke to reporters last week following the legislature’s failure to override Gov. John Kasich’s veto of the “heartbeat” bill. The Senate president said: “I think we’re too focused on one particular bill and not the overall record here.” He had in mind the 21 restrictions on abortion rights the Republican majorities have enacted the past eight years, seeing the effort as surpassing “any other legislature in the country.”

The governor drew the line at the “heartbeat” bill, which would ban abortions once a physician detects a fetal heartbeat, or as early as six weeks into a pregnancy, before many women know they are pregnant. Republican lawmakers did not include exceptions for rape or incest. The governor rightly argued the legislation was unconstitutional and would result in an expensive and losing legal battle.

Actually, the same arguments apply to abortion-related legislation the governor did sign in the recently ended lame-duck session — a ban on the safest and most common abortion method used in the second trimester. This legislation is equally extreme, lacking exceptions for rape or incest, certain to bring a lengthy and costly court fight, elected officials substituting their thinking for the judgment of medical professionals. The Ohio State Medical Association opposed the measure.

This has been the pattern at the Statehouse, enacting legislation that pushes physicians aside, that erects barriers to women seeking abortions and those providing the procedure. It follows that the number of abortion clinics in the state has declined sharply. Reports indicate circumstances are such that some women are more likely to seek abortions in neighboring states, placing a burden on those who are disadvantaged.

Track the debate at the Statehouse, and opponents of abortion rights lately cite new members of the U.S. Supreme Court, justices Neil Gorsuch and Brent Kavanaugh, as further justification for pressing their cause. Ohio Right to Life long withheld its support for the “heartbeat” bill, worrying that it posed too many legal risks. The organization jumped on board in this round, pointing to “the most pro-life court we have seen in generations.”

Larry Obhof responded to concerns about the expense of tangling in court by noting that “a significant number of Ohio taxpayers would like us to protect unborn life.” So expect the “heartbeat” bill to make a return in the new legislative session. Mike DeWine, the governor-elect, has pledged to do what John Kasich would not: Sign the bill.

What DeWine would do well to consider in anticipation are his welcome and high-minded words on the evening of his election, his pledge to be the governor of all Ohioans. As abortion rights advocates correctly remind, surveys show that seven in 10 Ohioans favor protecting access to abortion. That, too, is a “significant number.”

One step forward of the past five decades, or since the Supreme Court affirmed abortion rights, setting the threshold of viability, involves the understanding that abortions will take place. The imperative is to ensure the procedure is safe. That starts with making abortion legal, and maintaining the necessary access. It goes to preserving the privacy of a woman in making the choice in consultation with her physician.

The Republican majorities at the Statehouse have been determined to narrow these rights. They already went way too far in barring abortions at 20 weeks. Now they have gone to further extremes with the abortion method ban and the promise of trying again to enact the “heartbeat” bill. This isn’t what a large majority of Ohioans want.