Tougher ‘heartbeat’ abortion ban heads to Ohio House vote


COLUMBUS (AP) — A committee of the Republican-led Ohio House has voted along party lines on legislation banning abortion once a fetal heartbeat is detected.

Tuesday’s vote came after the House Health Committee altered the bill to assure state rules allow heartbeat detection by transvaginal ultrasound. It’s effective earlier in pregnancy than other non-invasive technologies.

Democrats expressed anger, even tears, ahead of the vote, arguing the so-called “heartbeat bill” will disenfranchise poor and minority women, penalize doctors and prompt young Ohioans to move out-of-state.

Republican Rep. Candice Keller theorized the ban empowers women over fathers and male “abortionists,” whom she said hold sway over pregnancies.

Abortion opponents hope the legislation will spark a legal challenge that overturns the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark 1973 Roe vs. Wade decision.

A House vote is expected Wednesday.