Why a local lawmaker will be ‘making the most important speech of my life’ this week regarding the ‘heartbeat bill’


Ohio Rep. Candice Keller said she would likely be “making the most important speech of my life” this week when she expects the Ohio House to vote on the Senate’s “heartbeat bill,” she told the Journal-News.

Keller, a Middletown Republican, said Senate Bill 23, which has been debated in the House Health Committee, will be up for a vote at 1 p.m. Wednesday. The bill had five hearings in the Ohio Senate's Health, Human Services and Medicaid and three hearing in the Ohio House's Health Committee. Keller is a member of the House committee and said the bill is expected to be voted out of committee on Tuesday.

The bill would ban abortion in Ohio once a fetal heartbeat is detected, which can be as early as six weeks into a pregnancy. That’s a timeframe before many women know they’re pregnant.

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Keller expects the bill will be supported by the House committee on Tuesday. It passed the Senate Committee last month by an 8-4 vote.

If the House passes the bill next week, it would go to the Ohio Senate for a concurrence vote. The Senate passed the “heartbeat bill” by a 19-13 floor vote on March 13. Three Senate Republicans and all 10 Senate Democrats voted against the bill.

Keller and Ohio Rep. Ron Hood, R-Ashville, introduced in February a House version of the bill. Keller said the Senate and House bills are the same.

If the Senate concurs with the Keller-Hood “heartbeat bill,” it then heads to Gov. Mike DeWine for his signature. DeWine has previously said he would sign the “heartbeat bill,” a bill that former Ohio Gov. John Kasich vetoed twice.

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In February, Keller said the bill “will preserve the lives of the innocent unborn after a heartbeat is detected through ultrasound. After nine years of waiting, it is time. I look forward to the passage of this bill, which will save over 20,000 Ohio children annually.”

Opponents of the heartbeat bill have called it unconstitutional, including NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio, whose officials called it an unacceptable restriction on access to health care, according to the Associated Press. Others opposing the bill include the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology and Ohio Medical Association.

Ohio Right to Life supports this year’s version of the bill.

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