Updated at 9:07 p.m. EST
Ohio’s legislature recently passed what would have been the most restrictive abortion law in the nation: a ban on aborting fetuses with a detectable heartbeat, which develops as early as six weeks into a pregnancy. On Tuesday, Governor John Kasich vetoed the provision, arguing that it would be struck down in court. “The state of Ohio will be forced to pay hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars to cover the legal fees for the pro-choice activists’ lawyers,” Kasich said, according to the Associated Press. “Therefore, this veto is in the public interest.” The Ohio legislature could still override the governor’s veto, although that would require three-fifths of both the state House and Senate, a threshold that was reached in the Senate on its final vote, but wasn’t quite reached by the House in its final concurrence vote.
Kasich, who is pro-life and has long been supportive of anti-abortion legislation, did sign off on another abortion restriction, though. A separate measure bans abortion 20 weeks after fertilization—roughly equal to 22 weeks after the date of a woman’s last menstrual cycle, which is the time measurement most doctors use. Previously, state law banned the procedure starting 24 weeks following a woman’s last menstrual cycle, with exceptions for the life and health of the mother; starting 20 weeks into her pregnancy, a doctor had to certify that the fetus was not viable before performing the procedure. Ohio’s new, stricter standard is uncommon, but not rare—about a dozen states have similar measures in place. The logic behind this standard is that fetuses are capable of experiencing pain at that point in a pregnancy, a claim that has been contested by some doctors.