The Ohio House of Representatives passed HB 69, known as the “Heartbeat Bill,” out of the House on Wednesday. As reported last week, Agudath Israel along with Ohio Jewish Communities had requested that the Committee on Community and Family Advancement consider amending the bill to protect circumstances where religious beliefs conflict with this law. Specifically, the requested amendment read:
“A person is not in violation of division (A) of section 2919.195 if the pregnant woman provided a signed affidavit attesting that an abortion in this specific case is an expression of her sincerely held religious beliefs.”
While the committee declined to add any amendments to the bill, Rep. Janine Boyd (D-Cleveland Heights) offered this amendment on the House floor prior to the vote. She noted that as the state representative of a culturally and racially diverse district, including “the largest Orthodox Jewish Community between New York and Chicago, Boruch Hashem” (yes, those were her exact words), one of her key priorities is to protect the religious beliefs of all of her constituents. While the amendment was not accepted for inclusion in the bill, Agudath Israel thanks Rep. Boyd for her efforts on behalf of her constituents and on behalf of all those that value religious freedom. The bill has dim prospects of being passed in the Ohio Senate.