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Ohio's New Abortion Law And Examining The Years Before Roe

heartbeat bill
Ann Sanner
This photo taken June 5, 2012 outside the Statehouse in Columbus, shows a large balloon in support of the "Heartbeat" Bill. At the time, the Senate didn't plan to vote on the proposal, citing concerns the resulting law might be found unconstitutional.

In April, Ohio passed a so-called "heartbeat" bill into law, banning abortions once a fetal heartbeat is detected, as early as six weeks into pregnancy. No exception is made for cases of rape or incest but the bill does allow for abortions in cases where a woman's life is at risk. Several other states including Kentucky have passed similar bans that are either soon to take effect or have been blocked in federal court.

With the new bans comes confusion and speculation about the penalties women and doctors could face if an abortion is performed after a fetal heartbeat is detected. Meanwhile, clinics that provide abortions in states that do not have so-called "heartbeat" laws are bracing for the possibility of more patients from out of state seeking their services.

Joining Cincinnati Edition to discuss the new law and for a look back at the legal climate in the years leading up to Roe v. Wade are Gerhardstein & Branch Attorney at Law Jennifer Branch; and The Story of Jane: The Legendary Underground Feminist Abortion Service author Laura Kaplan.

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Michael Monks brings a broad range of experience to WVXU-FM as the host of Cincinnati Edition, Cincinnati Public Radio's weekday news and information talk show.