UPDATE | Ohio governor to sign heartbeat abortion bill

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COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) -- UPDATE 4/11/19 @ 2:23 p.m.
Ohio's governor says he will sign a bill imposing one of the nation's toughest abortion restrictions.

Republican Gov. Mike DeWine says he will follow through on his pledge to sign the heartbeat bill Thursday. The bill cleared the state Legislature on Wednesday.

DeWine's signature will make Ohio the sixth state to vote to ban abortions after the first detectable fetal heartbeat, which can come as early as five or six weeks into pregnancy, before many women know they're pregnant.

Courts blocked heartbeat laws in two other states and a third is awaiting governor's action.

DeWine's support for the bill breaks with his predecessor. Former Gov. John Kasich, a fellow Republican, twice vetoed it on grounds it was unconstitutional and would spark a costly court challenge.

UPDATE 4/10/19 @ 4:30 p.m.
A bill banning abortions in Ohio once a fetal heartbeat is detected is headed to Republican Gov. Mike DeWine, who has said he plans to sign it. Opponents vow to sue.

The bill cleared its final hurdle Wednesday when the Ohio Senate agreed to House changes 18-13. The Ohio House had approved the measure 56-39 earlier in the day.

DeWine took office in January. Backers hope he will be true to his word and sign the bill twice vetoed by his predecessor, Republican John Kasich.

Ohio joins five other states that have passed such restrictive abortion measures. A fetal heartbeat can be detected as early as five or six weeks into pregnancy, before many women even find out they're pregnant.

The bill makes no exceptions for rape or incest.



ORIGINAL STORY 4/10/19
No topic seemed off limits as abortion-rights supporters in Ohio fought the latest -- and perhaps last -- battle over a twice-vetoed heartbeat abortion ban.

The measure, aimed at sparking a challenge to Roe vs. Wade, appears poised to become law.

After nearly 10 years of fighting, Democrats on Tuesday's House Health Committee shared tales of back alleys and coat hangers, the lessons of slavery, the book of Genesis. Advocates testified lawmakers would lose support from faith communities, doctors and young voters.

None of it budged a largely closed-mouthed GOP majority. Republicans appeared confident prohibiting pregnancy termination once a fetal heartbeat is detected is the best thing for the unborn, for women and for Ohio.

They dominated an 11-7 party-line vote that sent the bill to the full House Wednesday.