COLUMBUS, Ohio (WKBN) – You could hear them chanting through two sets of closed doors; opponents of the now dubbed Human Rights and Heartbeat Protection Act, formerly known and referred to as the Heartbeat Abortion Bill.
For more than two hours, protestors screamed outside the chambers as lawmakers attempted to amend the bill to add excepts, exclusions, protections and other things, all to no avail.
Several lawmakers spoke to the merits of the bill on both sides of the aisle.
Then, once everyone had been given a chance to speak their mind, the Speaker of the House called for the final vote and that is when the demonstration inside the chamber erupted.
Signs are prohibited inside the Statehouse. Somehow, the demonstrators were able to smuggle them into the building and unfurled two large banners from the gallery seats on balconies overlooking the lawmakers.
One sign read, “This is not a house of worship!” The other read, “This is not a doctor’s office.”
The demonstrators began chanting, “Not the church, not the state, women must decide their fate!”
This was a minor disruption that caused the session to go into a short recess as the gallery was completely cleared of people.
Once back, a final vote was sorted out. Ultimately, 56 lawmakers voted to support the bill and 40 did not. Three lawmakers did not vote.
The bill immediately went to the Senate where lawmakers there took the matter up and quickly agreed to the changes the House made to the bill.
The vote there was exactly the same as it was when the bill passed out of that chamber a few weeks ago, with four Republicans joining Democrats in opposing the bill.
Now that the bill has completed its journey through the legislature, it is headed to Governor Mike DeWine for his signature.
DeWine has pledged to sign the bill, despite previous Republican Governor John Kasich vetoing it over concerns of its constitutionality.
As she spoke to the bill, Minority Leader of the House Emilia Sykes acknowledged the inevitable outcome and questioned what lawmakers are going to do next.
By forcing women to carry pregnancies to full term, they are consequently forcing a host of other potential issues to those women and families according to Sykes.
The Democrats’ failure to get Republicans to agree to any of their amendments that would begin to rectify those potential pitfalls leaves the question open.
What is this legislature going to do next?
This has been a battle that has raged for eight years in the halls and committee rooms of the Statehouse.
Now that that battle shifts to the courts, and as one Republican lawmaker put it on the floor today, that’s exactly what they wanted from the beginning.