November 17, 2011 — Ohio Senate President Tom Niehaus (R) on Tuesday said he has not decided whether his chamber will vote on the so-called "heartbeat" bill before the end of the year, AP/Lancaster Eagle-Gazette reports (AP/Lancaster Eagle-Gazette, 11/16).
The bill (HB 125), approved by the Ohio House in June, would ban abortion after the first detectable fetal heartbeat -- which can occur as early as six weeks -- without any exceptions for rape or incest (Women's Health Policy Report, 6/30).
Niehaus has convened a group of lawmakers to research the measure, which has divided the state's antiabortion-rights advocates. Ohio Right to Life is concerned that the bill could prompt a legal challenge that might jeopardize other restrictions on abortion in the state. Niehaus said he wants the research group to report its findings this month (AP/Lancaster Eagle-Gazette, 11/16).
Repro Health Watch — an exciting new edition of the Women’s Health Policy Report — compiles and distributes media coverage of proposed and enacted state laws and ballot initiatives affecting women's access to comprehensive reproductive health care, as well as litigation in response to those provisions.