The Ohio Senate is expected to consider a bill this fall aimed at prohibiting women from ending a pregnancy after the first detectable heartbeat.
Dubbed "the Heartbeat Bill," the proposal recently passed the Ohio House of Representatives and would be the most restrictive ban on abortions in the nation.
Still, the proposal is facing strong opposition from pro-choice groups and some question the constitutionality of the bill.
"This legislation, regardless of whatever cute name you want to give it, is essentially a ban on abortion," said Kellie Copeland, executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio. "You're talking about a ban that comes at a point in pregnancy when most people don't realize they're pregnant, especially if they're not trying to get pregnant."
In some cases, a fetal heartbeat can be detected as soon as 18 days after conception, but almost always can be detected by six weeks.
According to the Associated Press, nearly 95 percent of all abortions in the state take place after a fetal heartbeat is likely to be detected.
According to the Ohio Department of Health, there were 28,721 abortions performed in Ohio in 2009, the most recent figures available.
Pro-life supporter Barbara Hintz, 75, of Marietta, said she supports the Heartbeat Bill, but would like to see all abortions end.
"This is a good bill and it is a step in the right direction," she said. "A heartbeat represents life but conception should be the landmark. That's when you become human."
A co-sponsor of the bill, Ohio Rep. Andy Thompson, R-Marietta, said the bill defines a heartbeat as life. Currently, abortions in the state are legal until a fetus is considered viable, which is generally 22 to 24 weeks gestation.
"This bill creates a pretty basic standard," Thompson said. "A heartbeat is life."
According to Thompson, the proposal would not punish women but rather doctors who perform abortions when a fetal heartbeat can be detected. The doctors would face a fifth-degree felony.
The Ohio Senate is on break but is expected to consider the bill this fall. The bill passed the House by a 54-44 vote.
"I don't know what the chances are in the Senate but I've been amazed at the intensity of support for this bill," Thompson said.
In addition to concerns over banning abortions so early in a pregnancy, Copeland said she has additional concerns because the bill contains no exceptions for rape, incest or the general health of the mother. The bill would allow an abortion if the mother's life was at risk.
"This is very, very extreme legislation that would turn Ohio law into something that generations of women have not had to face," Copeland said.
Marietta resident Rebecca Holland, 40, said she generally opposes abortion but would want exceptions in some instances.
"No victim of rape or incest should ever have to take that pregnancy to term," she said. "And if a pregnancy threatens a woman's health, that should be a decision to be made between her and her doctor."
In regard to a pregnancy by rape or incest, Thompson said adoption is still an option.
"The child is not the guilty person," he said. "I don't know what the percentage of pregnancies by rape or incest, but I'm sure it's a fraction of one percent."