FFRF condemns passage of Ohio’s anti-woman ‘fetal heartbeat’ law

Abortion Ban

Protesters yesterday unfurled banners at the Ohio Capitol that correctly proclaimed: “This is not a House of Worship” and “This is not doctor’s office.” It did not stop Ohio Governor Mike DeWine from signing one of the nation’s strictest anti-choice bills into law today.

The so-called “heartbeat” bill bans abortion after a fetal heartbeat is detected (as early as five weeks). Most women do not even know they are pregnant that early, which is, of course, the point. Doctors who perform an abortion after this point, even in the case of rape or incest, are now felons.

The bill codifies into law beliefs not based on science or morality, but on religion and so-called holy books. The Christian Right has been and remains the primary opponent to women’s reproductive rights. Indeed the “architect” of the “fetal heartbeat” bill runs an organization called “Faith2Action.” It’s about imposing one religious viewpoint on all citizens. This is theocracy, and FFRF condemns it in the strongest terms.

The ACLU has, we’re glad to report, already promised to sue over the law. Concern over the cost of litigation to defend this supremely unconstitutional law was reportedly one reason previous Gov. John Kasich — himself a bit of a Christian nationalist — had vetoed the bill twice, to his great credit.

DeWine has had a track record since day one of imposing his religion on his state. He nearly overdosed on the bible when he put his hand on nine bibles to take the gubernatorial oath, during a highly religious inauguration ceremony in his home that included Christian hymns and prayers.

The Ohio law comes on the heels of the Trump administration’s “domestic gag rule” to bar organizations that provide abortion referrals from receiving federal family planning money, and other draconian provisions that would essentially defend many Planned Parenthood clinics. That rule, which is already being challenged in court, takes effect on May 3.

The “fetal heartbeat” bills are being introduced as part of a campaign to overturn Roe v. Wade at the U.S. Supreme Court level. As more and more states pass these bills (such as Kentucky, Iowa, Mississippi and North Dakota), the traditional slogan on many a woman’s protest sign is more relevant today than ever: “Keep your theology off my biology.”

The Freedom From Religion Foundation, based in Madison, Wis., a 501(c)(3) nonprofit educational charity, is the nation's largest association of freethinkers (atheists, agnostics), and has been working since 1978 to keep religion and government separate.

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