Wednesday, December 7, 2016

The Heartbeat (Bill) Of America

Ohio Republicans in the Trump era are wasting no time in preparing to test both GOP Gov. John Kasich and possibly any Trump Supreme Court nominees on state restrictions on abortion.

An Ohio bill that would ban abortions once a fetal heartbeat can be detected is headed to the governor’s desk. 
Lawmakers in the Republican-controlled state House voted to approve the so-called “heartbeat bill” Tuesday night after it passed in the Senate earlier in the day, clearing the way for what would be one of the nation’s most stringent abortion restrictions. 
The legislation would prohibit most abortions as early as six weeks into pregnancy after the first detectable heartbeat
Gov. John Kasich, an abortion opponent, has previously voiced concerns about whether such a move would be constitutional. He has not said whether he plans to sign the measure. 
State Senate President Keith Faber, a Republican, said the twice-defeated bill came back up again because of Donald Trump’s presidential victory and the expectation he will fill Supreme Court vacancies with justices who are more likely to uphold stricter abortion bans.

Asked if he expects the Ohio proposal to survive a legal challenge, Faber said: “I think it has a better chance than it did before.” 
The ban would make an exception if the mother’s life is in danger but not in cases of rape or incest, he said. 
NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio said the move would block access to abortion before most women even know they’re pregnant. “This bill would effectively outlaw abortion and criminalize physicians that provide this care to their patients,” said Kellie Copeland, the group’s executive director.

So again, two questions here: One, will "moderate" Kasich sign the nation's most restrictive abortion law (or more likely just wait ten days and it will become law automatically) and two if he does, how will the Trump administration handle the almost certain injunction against the measure?  This would almost certainly come before Trump's new SCOTUS nominee if it went to the high court in a couple of years.  It's very possible the court will refuse to hear the case after it's struck down, as similar measures in Arkansas and North Dakota were left unconstitutional when SCOTUS refused to take up either state law.

But it's also possible that a new justice and a new court could want to take it up, too.

It's a stupid law designed solely to see if SCOTUS will let states get away with banning abortions after six weeks.  I don't know if Kasich will join this mess or not, or if it even matters because Republicans would only need three-fifths of both the Ohio House and Senate to override a veto and they'll almost certainly have to numbers to do that. Odds are even if this survives a Kasich veto that the fight will end up being a big embarrassment to the state and cost taxpayers millions.

That certainly hasn't stopped Republicans elsewhere.

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