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Federal Judge Blocks So-Called ‘Fetal Heartbeat’ Bill In Ohio

Federal Judge Blocks So-Called ‘Fetal Heartbeat’ Bill In Ohio

A hold has been placed on a newly-passed Ohio law that bans abortion at the first signs of a heartbeat being detected.

A federal judge ordered the hold while consideration of the constitutionality of it continues to be considered in the courts, the Associated Press reported. While the hold is in place, abortion clinics in Ohio can continue operations as they had before the law was enacted.

Photo by Elijah Nouvelage/Getty Images

Republican Gov. Mike DeWine signed the fetal heartbeat bill in April of this year, after his predecessor, former Gov. John Kasich, declined to do so twice during his tenure in office. Planned Parenthood, the American Civil Liberties Union, and other clinics in the state filed suit in May.

The law would have prevented some women from attaining an abortion as early as six weeks into their pregnancy. Many physicians believe that is too early for most women to even realize they’re pregnant at all.

“Typically, clinical symptoms like fatigue and nausea don’t start until after six weeks,” Dr. Dana Gossett, vice chair of obstetrics and gynecology at UC San Francisco, said, per a report from the New York Times.

“Unless a woman is actively trying to get pregnant, she is unlikely to know that she is pregnant at six weeks,” added Dr. Sarah Horvath, family planning fellow at the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, who also spoke with the Times.

Some physicians have been critical about the idea of a fetal heartbeat existing at 6 weeks pregnancy to begin with. Cardiac development in an embryo “doesn’t at all resemble what would eventually become a functioning human adult heart,” Dr. Colleen McNicholas, an abortion provider, told HuffPost in May.

“At that point, it really is just these two tubes with a couple of layers of cardiac or heart cells that can vibrate or cause some sort of movement that we use colloquially to talk about a ‘fetal heartbeat,’” she added.

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