GOP hopefuls support Ohio's extreme anti-choice bill

By Lisa McIntire on
May 5, 2011

An anti-abortion “heartbeat” bill in Ohio – which, if passed, would be the most restrictive law regarding abortion in the country – is getting support from some GOP heavy-hitters. So far, former Speaker Newt Gingrich, Cong. Michele Bachmann, and former Governor Mike Huckabee have all come out in favor of this unprecedented legislation.

The legislation, House Bill 125, would make abortion illegal if a fetal heartbeat can be detected, which generally occurs six to seven weeks into a pregnancy – a point at which many women don’t even know they’re pregnant. Interestingly, even the anti-choice group Ohio Right to Life says the bill is legally flawed and could end up creating a backlash – but that’s not giving pause to Gingrich, Bachmann, or Huckabee. And why should it? As Robin Marty points out in RH Reality Check: “it's easy for the candidates to say they are for it -- it proves their anti-choice credentials without them likely having to face any actual repercussions of it passing.”

A telling nugget: a spokesman for Ohio’s Republican House Speaker said “constitutional concerns are also being researched.” Like, say, Roe v. Wade? But legislation such as this outrageously restrictive law is part and parcel of the current anti-choice strategy: instead of trying to overturn Roe, they instead aim to seriously erode women’s access to legal abortion services through state-level measures. And it says everything about the current GOP’s agenda that its current presidential hopefuls eagerly back such divisive social issues that hurt American families instead of addressing the far more pressing issues facing our country.

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