Kasich Vows to Veto Pro-Life Heartbeat Bill as Senate Leaders Round Up Votes

John Kasich

Ohio Gov. John Kasich has threatened to veto pro-life legislation that overwhelmingly passed the State House last week with the goal of protecting almost all unborn babies in the state from being aborted.

Last Thursday, the Ohio House voted 60 to 35 to pass House Bill 258, which bans doctors from aborting any unborn baby with a detectable heartbeat, except in cases of a “substantial and irreversible” physical threat to the mother. The punishment for any doctor violating the law would be up to a year in prison.

A heartbeat is usually detectable between the sixth and eighth weeks of pregnancy.

Aaron Baer, president of Ohio’s Citizens for Community Values, tweeted his disappointment with Kasich.

Faith2Action President Janet Porter predicted that pro-life lawmakers would “override him and he can never run again as a ‘pro-lifer,’” The Columbus Dispatch reports.

Kasich confirmed that he remains opposed to the heartbeat bill during a meeting with reporters at the state House Monday, the Toledo Blade reported. “I see nothing that’s coming that would make me change my position,” he said.

By not coming down fully on either side of the abortion debate, the governor has managed to infuriate both pro-life and pro-choice advocates.

Kellie Copeland with NARAL Pro Choice Ohio told Statehouse News Bureau that Kasich is going on all of the Sunday shows, projecting himself as a moderate to take on President Trump in 2020. But she says the very fact that the heartbeat bill would land on his desk shows a lack of leadership on his part.

“A moderate isn’t somebody who has enacted 20 restrictions on access to reproductive health care,” Copeland said. “If he really wants to convince anyone that’s he’s not part of the extremists trying to outlaw abortion in this state and throughout the country, he needs to get up off his duff and do something.”

Kasich vetoed a previous version of the heartbeat bill in Dec. 2016, saying that he believed it was unconstitutional in light of Roe v. Wade.

Pro-life advocates argue the timing could not be better for such a court battle, citing President Donald Trump’s recent Supreme Court nominees.

But Kasich may not have the last say on the bill’s fate. The Ohio House passed it with 60 votes, just enough to override a veto, and Republicans outnumber Democrats 23 to 9 in the Ohio Senate, where the bill heads next. Senate President Larry Obhof said he believes he has enough votes to get the bill passed, but is not sure if conservatives can muster the 20 votes needed for a veto override.

Baer of Citizens for Community Values is urging Ohioans to call their state senators.

Incoming Gov.-elect Mike DeWine has campaigned on a promise to sign the legislation, meaning it would likely pass next year.

“There’s also a question of, does Mike DeWine want to work with us on those issues in January,” Obhof told The Dispatch. “Are these things better dealt with right now, even though we will have to push back on the governor, or could they just as easily be done on Jan. 20?”

Kasich made an unsuccessful bid for the White House in the 2016 Republican primary, and has shown interest in challenging Trump in 2020, possibly as an independent.

Though a nominally “pro-life” governor who signed some pro-life laws, he has also claimed that Republicans “focus too much” on abortion, that Roe v. Wade is “the law of the land now and we live with the law of the land,” and that Republicans shouldn’t risk a government shutdown to defund Planned Parenthood, LifeSite News reports.

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Anthony Accardi is a writer and reporter for The Ohio Star.

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One Thought to “Kasich Vows to Veto Pro-Life Heartbeat Bill as Senate Leaders Round Up Votes”

  1. I will ask this again folks, “Why did the House take up this bill at this time, instead of waiting two months and being assured of a victory here”? This does NOT add up folks.