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Although it has been legal since 1973, abortion remains a controversial topic. The states and federal government are constantly pushing boundaries, asking the Supreme Court just how much they can legislate the procedure. The newest of these pushes involves a proposed Ohio abortion law.
Though it undoubtedly infringes upon constitutionally protected abortion rights, a newly proposed Ohio abortion law seeks to prohibit abortions once a fetal heartbeat can be medically detected. Its effect would be to outlaw abortions not performed within a few weeks of conception.
Nicknamed the "Heartbeat Bill," the law is set to be discussed in a scheduled committee hearing. During that hearing, Faith2Action, a group that seeks to curtail abortion rights, is presenting legislators with the testimony of two 9-week-old "witnesses." That is, they will project real-time ultrasounds depicting the beating heart of each witness -- the very thing the Heartbeat Bill seeks to protect.
While pro-life activists are lauding the "testimony" of the nation's very first in-utero witnesses as an ingenious move, detractors of the Heartbeat Bill consider it another jab in the recent attacks on woman's rights, notes Think Progress. Though family planning funds and abortion rights have been on the chopping block as of late, the Ohio abortion law really isn't an attack, it's a political statement.
Current abortion jurisprudence prohibits states from outlawing abortion before the third trimester. However, states may regulate the procedure during the second trimester so long as any restrictions are reasonable and promote the mother's health. They must also permit late-term abortions in the event that a woman's health is in danger.
Though abortion rights have been challenged in the last few years, these premises still stand. The Ohio abortion law would prohibit the procedure after only a few weeks, which is undoubtedly in contradiction with current precedent.
Heartbeat Bill advocates acknowledge that this is the case, reports Think Progress. However, Arizona, Georgia, Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas are currently in the process of creating similar bills.