Ohio Senate Leader Says Romney's Defeat Thwarted 'Heartbeat' Bill
December 3, 2012 — An Ohio Senate leader on Thursday said GOP candidate Mitt Romney's loss in the presidential election compelled him to abandon a bill (HB 125) that would have banned abortion after a fetal heartbeat is detectable, the AP/San Francisco Chronicle reports (Carr Smyth, AP/San Francisco Chronicle, 11/29).
State Senate President Tom Niehaus (R) recently announced that he would not schedule a vote on the bill, which could have prohibited abortion before women even learn they are pregnant. The measure did not include exceptions for cases of rape, incest or to save a woman's life. Supporters of the bill hoped that a legal challenge could lead to the overturning of Roe v. Wade (Women's Health Policy Report, 11/28).
Niehaus had told the bill's supporters he would only advance the measure if Romney won the election. Romney would be more likely to appoint Supreme Court justices who would uphold the law, according to Niehaus.
The likelihood that the bill would lead to a challenge that would overturn Roe "appeared to me to be an extreme risk to take, and I was not willing to take that risk," he added.
Last week, Niehaus blocked an attempt by the bill's supporters to force a vote (AP/San Francisco Chronicle, 11/29). In a strategic move to keep the bill from advancing to the floor, the Senate rules committee voted to refer the measure to itself. Under Senate rules, the bill must stay in the committee for 30 days -- exceeding the time left in the legislative session (Weiser, "Politics Extra," Cincinnati Enquirer, 11/29).