COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - A powerful Ohio Senate committee has shut down an effort by backers to force a vote on legislation that would impose the most stringent abortion restriction in the nation.
Supporters of the so-called "heartbeat bill" vowed to unblock it with a discharge petition but were outmaneuvered Thursday when the Senate rules committee re-referred the bill to the same committee. The bill must remain there for 30 days - more time than remains in this legislative session.
The sudden move followed Senate President Tom Niehaus removing two Republican members from the committee.
The bill proposed banning most abortions after the first detectable fetal heartbeat. Backers hoped such a restriction would spark a legal challenge that could lead to overturning the U.S. Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion up until viability.
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The biggest backer of a bill in Ohio that would put tighter restrictions on abortion says she will do anything she can to force a vote before this year's end.
Faith-2-Action President Janet Folger Porter says 17 Republican signatures on a discharge petition can force a vote.
Porter also says Republican Senate President Tom Niehaus broke a promise Tuesday with his decision not to schedule a vote on the so-called "heartbeat bill."
Niehaus is in his final weeks at the Statehouse due to term limits. He cited lingering constitutional concerns in his decision, which effectively killed the bill.