Balloons to Soar in Ohio for Pro-Life 'Heartbeat Bill'

Pro-life Ohioans are planning to release 99 heart-shaped helium balloons into the sky this Valentine's Day to drum up support for a bill that would protect babies and threaten Roe v. Wade.

Faith2Action will send the red balloons up into the sky at the state House in an effort to sway House members to support the so-called "heartbeat bill" that was introduced Wednesday.

The pro-life measure would ban abortion on any fetus once a heartbeat is detected. The legislation, if signed into law, would pose a challenge to the Supreme Court's 1973 decision in Roe v. Wade, under which a woman can have an abortion until the fetus is "viable" or can live outside the mother's womb.

This is not the first bill to shorten the window available to abort a pre-born child. The Fetal Pain bill, passed in Nebraska last spring, bans abortion after 20 weeks asserting that babies can feel pain at the gestation mark. That bill stops abortion within the second trimester.

However, the Ohio heartbeat bill, if passed, would outlaw abortion within weeks of conception.

Janet Porter, the bill's author and president of Faith2Action, said a fetus' heartbeat can be heard between 18 days to six weeks.

The bill is set up to be a clear challenge to the 38-year-old Supreme Court decision, commented Al Gerhardstein, a civil rights attorney, to CBN News.

"This bill totally eliminates the notion of viability and it pushes the ban way up into the first trimester, which is clearly unconstitutional," he contended.

Ohio state Republicans, who won major victories during last November's elections, are pleased with the bill. Rep. Lynn Wachtmann argued, "Science has already given us a yardstick to determine if someone is alive; a beating heart. We just want to see that measurement applied evenly."

Forty other congressmen have also signed the bill in agreement. F2A is planning to release the heart-shaped balloons this Feb. 14 in hopes that all 99 state House representatives will vote for the bill.

NARAL Pro-Choice America has already stated its opposition to the bill. NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio Executive Director Kellie Copeland has released a statement calling the bill "out of touch with Ohio's values and priorities."

If the bill passes both state bodies and is signed into law, it is very likely that several pro-choice groups will move to overturn it on constitutional grounds.

Pro-life advocates are itching for a chance at a U.S. Supreme Court fight.

"The Supreme Court told us no before," said Wachtmann, referring to the partial birth abortion ban.

The Supreme Court struck down the ban in 2000, but upheld it in 2007.

"That victory started with an Ohio law that the courts first [turned] down," she reminded.

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