Ohio Gov. Kasich bans 20-week abortion, vetoes ‘heartbeat bill’ provision

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Ohio Gov. John Kasich has signed a 20-week abortion ban while vetoing stricter provisions in a separate measure that would have barred the procedure at the first detectable fetal heartbeat.

The heartbeat bill prohibited most abortions as early as six weeks into pregnancy. Its provisions cleared the Republican-led Legislature last week after being tucked into separate legislation.

Similar measures elsewhere have faced legal challenges, and detractors in Ohio feared such legislation would lead to a costly fight in the courts. Opponents predicted it would be found unconstitutional if it became law.

Abortion rights groups are criticizing Kasich for his approval to ban abortions after 20 weeks.

Planned Parenthood calls the ban dangerous legislation that blocks a woman from making important medical decisions during her pregnancy.

NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio says the 20-week ban has no exceptions for rape or incest and would allow abortions only if a woman is on the brink of death or suffering permanent organ damage.

Kasich opposes abortion rights. The 20-week ban is similar to those now in effect in 15 states.

Ohio Right To Life praised the Republican governor for signing the ban, saying it would save “hundreds of unborn lives” annually and allow Ohio to directly challenge Roe v. Wade.

The group also supported Kasich’s decision to veto the heartbeat bill, though legislators could override the veto.

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