COLUMBUS, Ohio (Dec. 15, 2016) – On Tuesday, Ohio Gov. John Kasich signed a bill into law banning most abortions after 20 weeks, defying a Supreme Court opinion prohibiting states from regulating abortions before 24 weeks.
Sen. Peggy Lehner and Sen. Jay Hottinger sponsored Senate Bill 127 (SB127). The legislation bans abortions after 20 weeks with an exception for saving the life of the mother. Current precedent generally allows states to bar abortions after 24 weeks.
The new law will go into effect in 90 days. Physicians performing an abortion after 20 weeks when the fetus is viable could face fourth-degree felony charges punishable by up to 18 months in prison.
The Senate passed the bill 23-8 and it cleared the House by a 64-29 vote.
Kasich vetoed a bill that would have banned abortions after the fetus had a detectable heartbeat.
“I agree with Ohio Right to Life and other leading, pro-life advocates that Senate Bill 127 [the 20 week ban] is the best, most legally sound and sustainable approach to protecting the sanctity of human life,” Kasich said in his veto message.
Ohio Right to Life President Michael Gonidakis supported SB127.
“The 20-week ban was nationally designed to be the vehicle to end abortion in America. It challenges the current national abortion standard and properly moves the legal needle from viability to the baby’s ability to feel pain,” he told the Columbus Dispatch.
in Planned Parenthood v. Casey (1992), the Supreme reaffirmed the opinion in Roe v. Wade that a woman has an absolute right to an abortion until fetal viability, while rejecting a trimester structure the court initially used to determine when states could regulate abortion. Current Supreme Court precedent prohibits states from regulating abortion before 24 weeks. The new Ohio law effectively nullifies the SCOTUS criteria.
The opinion of Supreme Court judges notwithstanding, the federal government lacks any constitutional authority to regulate abortions. This clearly falls within the objects James Madison said would remain with the state governments – “objects which, in the ordinary course of affairs, concern the lives, liberties and properties of the people.”
But in Roe v. Wade, the SCOTUS created a constitutional “right to privacy” out of thin air and enforced it on state governments through the “due process” clause of the 14th Amendment. Justice Byron White captured the absurdity of the ruling in a blistering dissent.
“I find nothing in the language or history of the Constitution to support the Court’s judgment. The Court simply fashions and announces a new constitutional right for pregnant mothers and, with scarcely any reason or authority for its action, invests that right with sufficient substance to override most existing state abortion statutes.”
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