Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Ohio's Proposed Heartbeat Bill

By Sarah Mann

The issue of abortion rights has been at a new height over the past few weeks. Abortion rights activism has been one of the leading social issues of our generation and recently in Ohio there has been a new twist in the potential for state restriction of this federal right.

House bill 125 or the “heartbeat bill” was set forth by Ohio Republican Rep. Lynn Wachtmann in February to ban abortions once a heartbeat is detectable on an ultrasound.  As of right now there is no specific timeline regarding how many days along a woman must be in her pregnancybefore this restriction might take place, but it is known that as early as 18 days a fetal heartbeat can be detected.
Since 1973, the Roe v. Wade case decision brought legal abortion to all women in the United States, and this heartbeat bill is by far the most aggressive challenge since its passage.       
Prior to researching more about abortion laws and rights, I have to admit I was a bit confused as to how legislators in Ohio could essentially overturn this 1973 Supreme Court decision to legalize abortions.  Then I realized it was because they justified this bill as a restriction to an abortion. 
Although abortions are technically legal in all 50 states, many states have made them more difficult to obtain than others. Many states have demanded mandatory ultrasounds, parental consent if underage and even a 72 hour waiting period prior to an abortion, but no restriction as gone as far as Ohio.

During the case on March 2, two Ohio women, both supporters of the bill, took the stand and had ultrasounds preformed on their 9 week and 15 week old fetuses. Controversy over the depiction of these women who are suppose to, in effect, represent all women in Ohio, was conveyed by Kellie Copeland, spokesperson for NARAL Pro-Choice in Ohio.
"They were used as props, and women are not props. Women are citizens and we deserve the right to protect or have them to make their own decisions.  I don't think Lynn Wachtmann or anybody else should be able to make decisions for every woman which is exactly what they're trying to do."
Since Republicans control all aspects of Ohio state's government, it is likely that this bill will in fact pass.  The United States Supreme Courtonce again has a conservative edge with John Roberts as its Chief Justice.  If the Ohio law were to be appealed to the Supreme Court, it may be upheld.   
When looking into any critical social controversy I like to look to both sides and see why people see things so differently.  And when watching a video on, a woman emphatically asks for support on the bill and discusses the need for defenders for unborn fetuses.
 What I have interpreted from many pro-life activists is that it’s pro-life v. pro-abortion, and I don’t believe this is really the case.

 I consider myself pro-choice, not because I agree with the procedure of abortion, but with the choice its gives us.  The bottom line, for me anyways, is that there simply has to be the option, the choice, the opportunity because if that’s taken away from us we all know the procedures certainly won’t stop, they will just get dangerous and unsafe.
I believe this is what all the pro-life activists aren’t addressing.  That is the real issue.  It’s not that I, as a pro-choice supporter, believe that terminating a pregnancy is good or ok, but I understand that taking away the option to abort a fetus will only lead back to the dangerous road of back alley abortions and unsafe conditions.
For an update, check out the Jezebel article!

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