Senate Bill 23, the legislation that passed and was signed by DeWine after two vetoes of similar bills by former Gov. John Kasich, states that if a heartbeat is detected in the unborn human individual that the pregnant woman is carrying then a doctor can only perform an abortion if a medical emergency necessitating the abortion exists, the bill states.
After Kentucky's governor signed the heartbeat bill, and before it was blocked, "we could feel the fear", said Marcie Crim of the Kentucky Health Justice Network, which runs a fund supporting Kentuckians who opt to get abortions.
He said it's the government's job to protect the vulnerable. The only exceptions will be if the woman's life is in danger, but not in cases of rape or incest. Kentucky's heartbeat law has been blocked for now by a federal judge; abortion-rights lawyers are seeking a similar injunction in MS before the law there takes effect July 1.
"I am delighted that today the governor signed a bill, boldly declaring that OH will protect an unborn life", Roegner said.
Even before the bill was signed, the American Civil Liberties Union of OH reportedly said it was preparing a suit to challenge to the law, something DeWine and OH pro-life advocates anticipated. But regardless of what happens with Ohio's bill, which in recent days has been renamed the "Human Rights Protection Act", the sting in the legislature is palpable.
But DeWine defended Ohio Republicans" decision to push the boundaries of the law, because "it is the right thing to do'.
EMILY's List, a national group that supports candidates who favor abortion rights, also decried the OH bill, as did the Democratic National Committee.
In Georgia, where Kemp is expected to sign the heartbeat bill soon, more than 50 actors, including Alyssa Milano, Alec Baldwin and Amy Schumer, have threatened a campaign to pull Hollywood productions out of Georgia - a hub for TV and movie projects - if the ban is enacted.
The ACLU of OH promised to challenge the new law with a lawsuit, calling the ban unconstitutional. That can come as early as five or six weeks into pregnancy, before many women know they're pregnant.
The bill was passed 56-40, with all Democrats and a few Republicans voting against it. "Trigger bans" would automatically make abortion illegal if Roe vs. Wade is overturned, "method bans" keep providers from performing a specific type of abortion; "reason bans" prohibit abortion based on fetal characteristics, such as sex, race or disability status; and "gestational age bans", prohibit abortions at a specific point in pregnancy, such as six, 18 or 20 weeks after the last menstrual period.
'The heartbeat bill is the next incremental step in our strategy to overturn Roe v. Wade, ' said Ohio Right to Life President Mike Gonidakis.