John Kasich Vetoes 'Heartbeat Bill' in Ohio but Bans Abortion After 20 Weeks

Ohio Gov. John Kasich vetoed a law that would have outlawed abortions after a fetal heartbeat was detected—hence why it was known as the “heartbeat bill”—and instead signed into law a bill that will outlaw abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy.

In reaching this decision, Gov. Kasich said that he vetoed the heartbeat bill because it was “clearly contrary to the Supreme Court’s current rulings on abortion,” and called the 20-week ban the “best, most legally sound and sustainable approach to protecting the sanctity of human life,” The New York Times reports.

According to CNN, Gov. Kasich said that he vetoed the heartbeat bill to avoid challenges to it in court, which would have been expensive and likely would have ended with the bill being struck down.

“Such a defeat invites additional challenges to Ohio's strong legal protections for unborn life,” he noted in his veto. “Therefore, this veto is in the public interest.”


“While it must have been difficult, the current makeup of a radically pro-abortion Supreme Court required the governor to exercise great restraint,” Ohio Right to Life President Mike Gonidakis said.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio said that the measure is “unconstitutional and will harm women and families” and is expected to file a suit to block the 20-week ban.

“There’s no way we’re going to take this lying down. It’s too horrific of a restriction for women who are facing medical complications and situations where they need an abortion around that 20-week period,” Gabriel Mann, a spokesman for NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio, said.

Under the 20-week ban, which goes into effect in 90 days, there are no exceptions for rape or incest, but there will be exceptions for the life of the mother, The New York Times reports.

Ohio now becomes the 18th state to adopt a 20-week abortion ban. According to the Times, however, this ban was deemed unconstitutional in Arizona and Idaho by federal courts. Legal experts say that the 20-week ban is more likely to survive a constitutional challenge than the heartbeat bill.