Ohio Governor John Kasich has just signed a bill that will ban abortions after 20 weeks, the Associated Press reports. Many fetal abnormalities, including microcephaly from the Zika virus, are not diagnosed until after this point in a pregnancy. There are no exceptions for rape or incest, just in the event that the mother’s life is in danger. A Democratic amendment to add those exceptions was rejected.
Such a ban is unconstitutional per Roe v. Wade, which established a nationwide right to abortion before fetal viability, which is around 24 weeks. Ohio now joins 15 other anti-choice states that already have 20-week bans; two other states have had such laws blocked from enforcement. Anti-choice lawmakers have based this kind of legislation on the idea that a fetus can feel pain at 20 weeks, even though such claims are totally unfounded.
Kasich also vetoed the portion of another bill that would have banned abortions at six weeks’ gestational age, or when fetal cardiac activity can first be detected, making him look somewhat reasonable by comparison. Perhaps this was the strategy all along.