John Kasich, Ohio governor and former presidential candidate, on Tuesday vetoed the controversial ‘heartbeat’ abortion bill lawmakers in the Buckeye State approved last week. The proposed legislation would have made abortion illegal after the detection of a fetal heartbeat, which typically takes place about six weeks into a pregnancy. Kasich did, however, sign another piece of legislation sent to his desk that would cap abortions at 20 weeks based on the belief that fetuses can feel pain at that stage of a pregnancy, a claim that has been criticized by some as scientifically baseless. Democratic lawmakers had attempted to include an exemption for cases of rape and incest in the 20-week bill, but Republican lawmakers rejected it.
State legislators in Ohio can still try to overturn Kasich’s veto, though doing so would be a tall order. A three-fifths majority in both the state House and Senate would be needed to topple the governor’s decision. Kasich, known for being a fierce abortion rights opponent, explained the rationale for signing the bill as a matter of avoiding a lawsuit challenging the law that would end in certain defeat. “The state of Ohio will be the losing party in that lawsuit and, as the losing party, the state of Ohio will be forced to pay hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars to cover the legal fees for the pro-choice activists’ lawyers,” Kasich said. “Therefore, this veto is in the public interest.”
Read the full story at The Associated Press.