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Lawmakers in Ohio have officially passed what’s known as the “heartbeat bill.” The law makes it illegal to perform an abortion if a fetal heartbeat can be detected by doctors. In most cases, that’s at about the six week mark in a pregnancy. It is the most strict abortion restriction in the country, and as the Democratic Women’s Caucus Chair Kathy DiCristofaro told reporters, it does not include exceptions in cases of rape or incest.

Doctors who do not check for a heartbeat before performing an abortion could face a year in prison. Discuss

UPDATE: The governor of Oklahoma vetoed a controversial bill that would make abortions a felony, according to the Washington Post. In a statement, the pro-life Mary Fallin said: “The bill is so ambiguous and so vague that doctors cannot be certain what medical circumstances would be considered ‘necessary to preserve the life of the mother’.”

Before Fallin vetoed the legislation, we reported that lawmakers in the state passed a new bill that would make performing an abortion a felony. The only exception, would be in cases where the mother’s life is in danger. Anyone found guilty under the new proposed law could spend three years in prison.

If Fallin had signed the bill, it would've sparked an inevitable legal battle challenging the Supreme Court’s protection of abortion rights under Roe v. Wade.

Traditionally, states have been able to pass laws that prevent or limit access to abortions after the point of “viability,” currently thought to be as young as around 22 weeks. It’s the point at which the babies could survive outside of the mother’s womb. However, the Supreme Court’s decision in the case of Roe v. Wade indicates that the government can’t put an “undue burden” on abortion access up to that point.

The new bill’s sponsor, Republican Sen. Nathan Dahm, told the AP that its goal is to challenge current federal abortion law:

Since I believe life begins at conception, it should be protected, and I believe it's a core function of state government to defend that life from the beginning of conception.

The World Health Organization and the Guttmacher Institute have just revealed the results of a shocking new study that found that around the world, 25% of all pregnancies now end in abortion.

The researchers, whose data was published in The Lancet, found an unexpected rise in the number of abortions taking place in recent years, from 50 million annually during the four year period of 1990 - 1994 to 56 million during the period between 2010 - 2014.

Notably, the research found the highest numbers of abortions in Latin America, where one in every three pregnancies are aborted. The most significant raises in numbers across the world were in developing countries.

Also notable was a stark drop in abortions in developed countries including the United States, Canada and parts of Europe, where they have reached three-decade lows.

One of the interesting findings was also the lack of correlation between abortion being illegal and the number of actual abortions performed. Essentially, according to the researchers, making abortion illegal does not make it less prevalent in many parts of the world, meaning women seeking abortions will have them performed illegally if they want the procedure. Discuss

Legislation Alone Won't Stop Abortion

As the Supreme Court hears an important abortion case, a look at some root issues. Read More

In most states in America, at least one abortion provider closes every two weeks, the fastest rate since it became legal in 1973. According to a new report from Bloomberg Business, in the last five years, 21 new abortion providers have opened, but across the country, at least 162 have been closed down. The primary reason is due to conservative lawmakers passing new legislation that makes it more and more difficult for providers to operate. In Texas alone, at least 30 clinics have closed down.

The number of abortions performed in America has continued to decline dramatically in recent years. From 2010 to 2015, the abortion rate fell by 12% nationwide. Ironically, recent numbers from Gallup show that in 2015, for the first time in seven years, more Americans call themselves “pro-choice” than say they are “pro-life.” Discuss