COLUMBUS, Ohio, February 8, 2011 ( – A new bill being proposed in the Ohio General Assembly would ban all abortion as soon as an unborn baby’s heartbeat is detected.

State Rep. Lynn Wachtmann (R-75th) will unveil the new “Heartbeat Bill” on Wednesday. The measure that would challenge Roe v. Wade by establishing an unborn child’s beating heart as the criterion for legal protection in Ohio.

Wachtmann chairs the House Health Committee, where he will likely introduce the bill formally on St. Valentine’s Day. He said it was fitting that the state with the nickname “the Heart of It All” should lead the way to “protect our fellow human beings with beating hearts.”

“Already, other states are looking to Ohio to lead the way and provide model legislation for them to pass in their states,” said Wachtmann.

An unborn child’s heartbeat is generally accepted as beating by 18-24 days after conception. If the Heartbeat Bill were passed, the measure theoretically could prevent most surgical abortions. The earliest first trimester abortions begin at 4 weeks into pregnancy (dated from the last menstrual period).

Approximately 88 percent of abortions in the United States are performed before the 12th week of pregnancy and 61.8 percent of abortions happen before the 9th week, according to the Guttmacher Institute, the research organization founded by Planned Parenthood. 

So far, 40 of 99 members in the Ohio House have decided to cosponsor Wachtmann’s bill.

A grassroots campaign to pass the bill is seeking to send thousands of heart-shaped red balloons to state lawmakers, encouraging them to support the measure.

“The Heartbeat Bill insures that if the heartbeat is detected, the baby is protected,” said Janet Porter, President of Faith2Action, which is lobbying for the bill’s passage. “When the Heartbeat Bill passes, it will be the most protective law in the nation.”

Linda Theis, Former President of Ohio Right to Life, said, “nearly 4000 red-heart balloons will be delivered to legislators by Valentine’s day.”

Not all pro-life leaders, however, are sanguine about the measure’s chances of success.

Michael Gonidakis, Ohio Right to Life’s current executive director, told FOX News that he believed the Heartbeat Bill “will not survive a court challenge, and therefore not save one life,” citing the U.S. Supreme Court’s opinion that legal limits on abortion other than viability would be unconstitutional.

More information on the Heartbeat Bill campaign can be found here.


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