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Ohio Fetal Heartbeat Abortion Ban (HB 258)

This law was last updated on Dec 21, 2018

This law is Anti–Choice




HB 258




Jun 6, 2017


Co-sponsors: 48
Primary Sponsors: 2
Total Sponsors: 50


Heartbeat Bans, Reporting Requirements, Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers

Full Bill Text

HB 258 would prohibit an abortion if the physician detects a fetal heartbeat, require clinic inspections to ensure reporting requirements compliance, and provide guidance in the event that Roe v. Wade is overruled.

Fetal Heartbeat

Current state law requires a physician to determine whether there is a detectable heartbeat of the fetus the pregnant person is carrying prior to the performance of an abortion, except in the case of a medical emergency.

A fetal heartbeat can be detected as early as six weeks of pregnancy—two weeks after a person’s first missed period—and well before many people even realize that they are pregnant.

This bill would make it a felony of the fifth degree if a physician performs or induces an abortion before determining whether there is a detectable fetal heartbeat.

In the case of a medical emergency, the physician would be required to make a note in the patient’s record of the following:

  • The physician’s belief that a medical emergency necessitating the abortion existed;
  • The medical condition of the pregnant patient that prevented compliance.

The pregnant patient would be required  to sign a form acknowledging that they have received information from the person intending to perform or induce the abortion that a fetal heartbeat has been detected and that the pregnant patient is aware of the statistical probability of carrying the fetus to term.

The bill would prohibit a person from knowingly and purposefully performing or inducing an abortion on a pregnant individual with the specific intent of causing or abetting the termination of the life of the fetus and whose fetal heartbeat has been detected.

This would not apply to a physician who performs a medical procedure that is designed or intended to prevent the death of the pregnant individual or to prevent a serious risk of the substantial and irreversible impairment of a major bodily function of the pregnant individual.

Whoever violates this provision would be guilty of a felony of the fifth degree.

In the case that a medical procedure is necessary to prevent serious injury or death of the pregnant individual, the physician would need to make a note of such condition in the patient’s record.

Additionally, a physician who performs or induces an abortion on a pregnant patient would need to do the following:

  • If the reason for the abortion purported is to preserve the health of the pregnant individual, the person shall specify in a written document the medical condition and the medical rationale for the person’s conclusion that the abortion is necessary to address that condition; and
  • If the reason for the abortion is other than to preserve the health of the pregnant individual, the person shall specify in a written document that maternal health is not the purpose of the abortion.

Cause of Action

The bill provides for an individual to file a civil action for the wrongful death of their “unborn child” if a physician performs an abortion in violation of this law, performs an abortion without providing the patient with the necessary information described above, or if the patient did not sign the necessary forms.

Adoption Information

The bill provides for the creation of a joint legislative committee on adoption promotion and support.

Clinic Inspections

The bill would require the department of health to inspect the medical records from any facility that performs abortions to ensure that the physicians or other persons who perform abortions at that facility are in compliance with the reporting requirements. Failure to comply with reporting requirements could lead to the suspension of an individual’s certificate to practice medicine.

Roe v. Wade

The bill states that it is the intent of the general assembly that a court judgment or order suspending enforcement of any of the above provisions is not to be regarded as tantamount to repeal of that provision.

The bill provides that in the case of an overruling of Roe v. Wade, the attorney general may apply to the pertinent state or federal court for either or both of the following:

  • A declaration that any one or more sections specified in this law are constitutional;
  • A judgment or order lifting an injunction against the enforcement of any one or more sections specified in this law.

If the attorney general fails to apply for the relief within 30 days of Roe v. Wade being overruled, any county prosecutor would be able to apply to the appropriate state or federal court for such relief.

Related Legislation

Similar to HB 493, which passed in 2016, but was vetoed by Gov. John Kasich (R).

Latest Action

Passed the house on November 15, 2018, by a 58-35 vote.

Passed the senate with amendments, on December 12, 2018, by an 18-13 vote.

An amendment added in the Senate provides that the use of a transvaginal ultrasound to detect the fetal heartbeat would not be required. This would effectively ban abortion anywhere from 9 to 12 weeks’ gestation (the time at which an abdominal ultrasound can be used to detect a fetal heartbeat).

12/21/18 – Vetoed by Gov. John Kasich.