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It now is a crime in Ohio to perform an abortion once a fetal heartbeat can be detected, usually about six weeks into pregnancy.

The bill signed by Republican Gov. Mike DeWine poses the threat of fines of up to $20,000 from the State Medical Board of Ohio.

Abortion advocates immediately promised a court challenge. But at least five states have such laws and several more have plans under consideration.

The Republican-majority legislature had no difficulty passing the bill. It turned back several amendments proposed by Democrats, including one that would have required a DNA database for all men in Ohio “so that child support orders can be enforced.”

Another required paid maternal leave and accommodations for mothers in the workplace.

A statement from Created Equal said, “If the pro-abortion lobbies angered by this victory present a legal challenge, we will defend these babies all the way up to the Supreme Court.”

The organization said changes on the court “signify an even better day for preborn babies may be on the horizon.”

“The legislature and Gov. DeWine have declared that no longer should the beating hearts of humans too young to be born be violently torn apart by abortion,” Created Equal said.

State Rep. Niraj Antani said a baby “with a beating heart in the womb deserves the opportunity of being born.”

“As a co-sponsor of the Heartbeat Bill the moment I was elected, today’s vote will save countless lives,” Antani said.

South Carolina, West Virginia, Missouri, Mississippi, Maryland and Florida have passed similar laws.

“I commend Ohio lawmakers for fighting for precious babies and passing this heartbeat bill,” said Liberty Counsel founder Mat Staver. “The beating heart of a priceless unborn child should awaken the conscience of our nation to the violence of abortion.

“I am grateful that Ohio is not afraid to take significant steps toward making the womb a safe place again.”

The act now is a fifth-degree felony.

NBC said doctors report a fetal heartbeat can be detected as early as five weeks.

The bill’s backers welcomed the threat of legal action from abortion backers.

The ACLU of Ohio immediately announced it would sue over the 56-39 vote in the House and 18-13 decision in the Senate.

Pro-life activists hope to provoke a legal challenge that could overturn the U.S. Supreme Court’s 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling, which legalized abortion up until viability, usually at 22 to 24 weeks.

The bill contains exceptions if the pregnant woman’s life is in danger, but there are no exceptions for rape or incest.

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