Students split over “Heartbeat” bill

Christina Suttles

KentWired Video

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Similar to the standoff in the state legislature, Kent State students are philosophically divided over Ohio’s “Heartbeat” bill.

The bill would effectively ban abortions once a fetal heartbeat is detected, which is usually six to eight weeks into pregnancy. The legislation is a powerful attempt by the state’s pro-life Congress members to make abortions lawfully punishable.

Pro-choice students said they think that the bill impedes on the personal rights of women. They said they believe it will create a further imbalance in class by which wealthy women will flee the state to get abortions and the less fortunate will be forced to have the child, even if they cannot afford to do so.

“The fact of the matter is that bringing a pregnancy to term has a higher chance of complications than getting an abortion,” said Joe Gaspar, senior computer science and applied mathematics major. “So forcing a woman to give birth against her will seems pretty cruel and barbaric for a civilized society.”

There are students who think that the bill is a necessary step for Ohio and the country.

“I believe that protecting the right to life is a very important duty of the government,” said Gregory Allison, a senior political science major. “All Americans are promised the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, and the Heartbeat Bill is an important tool to help protect those rights.”

Other students said the bill will cause an extensive uproar in the community and will lead to a legal struggle on a federal level.

“The heartbeat bill violates federal law,” said Kay Abshire, a senior fine arts major. “Fetal heartbeat can be detected as early as 10 weeks, far before viability as established by Roe. By passing this law, Ohio lawmakers will be costing taxpayers thousands of dollars in litigation in constitutional review.”

For many other students, though, their faith is what drives their support.

“I think everyone has a right to have a chance at life, even if they may be less fortunate,” a sophomore exploratory major said. “As a Christian, I can’t really imagine a situation where it would be okay to allow someone to kill another human being, except of course when the mother is in mortal danger, which rarely is the case if you consider all the abortions taking place.”

Forty-five percent of Ohioans favor the proposal, while 46 percent oppose it, according to a Quinnipiac poll.

The bill is awaiting approval in the Republican-controlled Senate.

If passed, the bill is likely to be signed by Ohio Gov. John Kasich, a conservative Republican, the New York Times reported.

This is just one of the arguments routinely debated on both sides of the aisle, which center around the protection of women versus the protection of new life.

The bill is due to be voted on after the March 6 Republican primaries.

Contact Christina Suttles at [email protected].