A bill that passed an Ohio House committee on Tuesday would make the state’s abortion regulations the strictest in the country.
The “heartbeat bill,” or House Bill 69, “prohibits a person from knowingly and purposefully performing or inducing an abortion with the specific intent of causing or abetting the termination of the life of an unborn human individual whose fetal heartbeat has been detected.”
A fetal heartbeat can be detected as early as six weeks into the pregnancy, which closes the window for a possible abortion significantly.
If enacted, physicians who are found to violate the new regulation, could face up to 12 months in prison and a fine of up to $2,500.
The bill states that perpetrators face “a felony of the fifth-degree.” But it also includes that a “physician is not in violation of the above prohibition if that physician performs a medical procedure designed to or intended to prevent the death of a pregnant woman or prevent a serious risk of substantial and irreversible impairment of a major bodily function of the pregnant woman.”
According to Cleveland.com, a similar bill has been deliberated in two previous legislative sessions. However, the legislation never gained the traction it needed to become law.
Pro-choice Ohio executive director Kellie Copeland said in a statement that “[a]t six weeks, many women don’t know they are pregnant. This bill would effectively outlaw abortion in Ohio.”