The Veto-Proof Heartbeat Bill

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Something amazing is happening in Ohio. On a cold, snowy November night, in the final moments of a long session, the Ohio House of Representatives passed Sub. H.B. 258, also known as the Ohio Heartbeat Bill. The bill states that no abortions can be performed once a heartbeat is medically detected. Current technology puts this threshold around six weeks. 

Veto Proof

On November 16th, 2018 sixty Ohio representatives cast their vote to protect life. Two courageous representatives crossed party lines to stand on the side of justice. These sixty bi-partisan votes gave the bill a veto-proof three-fifths majority. Why is this significant? The Heartbeat Bill was passed in Ohio by both the House and Senate in 2016. However, it never became law as Governor Kasich vetoed the bill in December that same year.

The Heartbeat Bill was stuffed into an appropriations bill which has line-item veto privileges. This allowed the Governor to quietly veto it as one item in the larger legislation. Out of the hundreds of line items, only two items were vetoed; the Heartbeat Bill and a $100,000 appropriation for adoption services.

Governor Kasich said the bill would be deemed unconstitutional, challenged in court, and Ohio would then be forced to litigate the case. He believed it would go all the way to the US Supreme Court and lose. He reasoned the litigation process would place a heavy financial burden on Ohio taxpayers and degrade their standing as a state. So instead of giving the courts a chance to rule on any of this, he pre-emptively made his judgment and vetoed the bill.

Now we have another chance. The Heartbeat Bill advances to the Senate the week following Thanksgiving. This bill was passed by the Senate in 2016 and should be voted on and passed without delay. It is important that Ohio state senators know it is the will of their constituents for this legislation to become law. The bill must be passed immediately, as Governor Kasich is expected to delay as long as possible in an attempt to prevent the bill from becoming law.

If you live in Ohio please CALL Senate President Larry Obhoff: 614-466-7505 and communicate to him your desire to affirm a bipartisan veto-proof house vote and send this to Governor Kasich immediately.

How it Happened

Janet Porter and her tenacious team at Faith 2 Action have championed the Heartbeat Bill for years. The miraculous story of exactly how the bill passed in the House can be read here. Two Democrats bucked party leadership’s aggressive attempt to block their vote. While the bill had passed on the forty-sixth vote, Janet was pushing for sixty votes. The need for a veto-proof margin required bi-pasrtsian support, which she got.

But then, even with bi-partisan support, the bill was still one vote short. What had happened? A tally of the promised votes versus the actual votes revealed the issue. A supportive Representative had failed to vote before leaving for the week. She was contacted but explained she was two hours away with her husband en route to a public function. At Janet’s request hey pulled off the road in a snowstorm and waited for Janet’s friend pick up the missing Representative. The Rep was driven back to the capitol to cast her deciding vote in the final moments of the House session. A historic victory for life!

Please pray for the State Senators in Ohio over the next few weeks. It is critical the bill passes the Senate in short order so if the Governor decides to again veto the bill, the House and Senate can override it and deliver the will of Ohio voters on this issue.

Prayer Points

Below are Prayer Points for the next two weeks beginning November 19th.

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Week of November 19

  • State Senators would hear the heart of the Father over the break and be ready to stand on the side of life.
  • Team’s of advocates will be assembled by Janet Porter and Faith 2 Action to lobby for the bill the week of November 26th.

Week of November 26 

  • The Ohio Senate would pass the bill in a single week with the needed 20 of 33 senate votes.
  • The congressional session ends early-December. The Governor must sign or veto a bill within 10 days (Sunday’s exempted). Pray the bill makes it to his desk by the end of November so the House and Senate can override the veto before the session ends.

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