With an eye on Donald Trump’s Supreme Court, Republican lawmakers in Ohio were inspired this week to finally pass a controversial bill that would prohibit abortions after the baby’s heartbeat has been detected. Known as the “Heartbeat Bill,” it would effectively make abortion illegal in Ohio after the 6-week mark in a typical pregnancy. If signed into law by Gov. John Kasich, it would become the strictest time-based abortion restriction in the country.
The bill has been circling around the Ohio legislature for years, but there was always a sense that even if it passed, it would ultimately be struck down in the courts. Lawsuits can eat away at the state budget, so it made sense to put the bill on hold until a more favorable judicial climate arrived.
According to Ohio Republicans, that day may soon be here.
On why he feels the bill has a chance of success, Ohio Senator Keith Faber said, “One, a new President. New Supreme Court justice appointees change the dynamic, and there was a consensus in our caucus to move forward.”
Donald Trump campaigned on an uncompromising pro-life platform even as his critics questioned his authenticity on the issue. Trump was on the record as a pro-choice advocate as recently as 2005 and his “there has to be some form of punishment” blunder resulted in a stronger reaction from the pro-life community than from the left. Even so, he hasn’t wavered from his promise to appoint a conservative, pro-life Justice, and he fully expects his Supreme Court to eventually overturn Roe v. Wade. In his ferocity on this issue, he was actually the strongest anti-abortion candidate the GOP has had in some time.
When it comes to his campaign promises, Trump left himself plenty of wiggle room on nearly every issue. Not on this one. He gave conservatives a specific list of potential nominees and vowed to choose one of those names. There’s no gray area here.
Since that’s the case, we have every reason to expect a judge at least as conservative as Scalia. That alone wouldn’t guarantee any major shift on abortion, but it gives pro-lifers the best shot we’ve had in a long time.
But to get a decision, there must be a case. The situation brewing in Ohio could be the one to watch, seeing as how the Ohio ACLU said this on Twitter: “Just a reminder, if the unconstitutional #HeartBeatBill passes and becomes law, we will challenge it in court.”
For Americans who have watched their dreams of outlawing abortion grow dimmer with every passing year, the 2016 election has provided a faint glimmer of hope. At this point, just stemming the tide would be a major victory.