Ohio ‘Heartbeat’ Bill Will Force Doctors To Wait Until A Woman Is In Mortal Danger To Justify An Abortion

Posted on December 14, 2011

Think Progress, December 14, 2011 by Tanya Somanader

Dressed in the trappings of farcical arguments and absurd antics, Ohio’s “heartbeat” bill marches closer to becoming the most radical anti-abortion law in the nation. The bill bans abortions if a fetal heartbeat can be detected, which normally occurs around six or seven weeks into a pregnancy— or before many women even know they’re pregnant.

Now being considered in the Ohio Senate, the bill fails to include any exception for rape or incest victims or for the mental health of the mother. The bill only allows an abortion after a heartbeat is detected if the life of the mother is threatened. But, as doctors told lawmakers yesterday, this exception forces physicians to put women’s lives at risk to justify the abortion. Indeed, one doctor explained that he would’ve had to wait for a woman’s “iliac vessels to rupture” to ensure that the necessary abortion “was an imminent threat”:

Dr. Matthew Mingione, a maternal-fetal medicine specialist in Columbus, said one of his patients was devastated to learn her pregnancy was in the abdomen, not in the uterus. It was attached to a major blood vessel, creating a high risk that she could bleed to death.

“(She) had a safe abortion at 12 weeks with minimally invasive techniques, saving her life,” Mingione testified. “If House Bill 125 had been law, we would have had to wait for her iliac vessels to rupture before intervening in order to be sure that this was an imminent threat to (her) life.”

Cleveland obstetrician Dr. Lisa Perriera told Senate Republicans, “Lawmakers do not belong in the consultation room with me and my patients.” She added, “Banning abortion has never stopped abortion from happening. It has only made abortion unsafe or more difficult to obtain.”

Posted in: Ohio