An Ohio bill that would have imposed the most stringent restriction on abortions in the nation met its end Tuesday.
Senators don't plan to vote on the so-called "heartbeat bill" before the end of the legislative session next month, Republican Senate President Tom Niehaus said, citing concerns the resulting law might have been found to be unconstitutional.
The bill proposed banning abortions after the first fetal heartbeat is detected, as early as six weeks into pregnancy. It had fiercely divided Ohio's anti-abortion community, while energizing abortion rights proponents who protested against it.
Backers hoped the stringent nature of the bill would provoke a legal challenge with the potential to overturn the U.S. Supreme Court's 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling that legalized abortion up until viability, usually at 22 to 24 weeks.
Ohio Right to Life, the state's largest and oldest anti-abortion group, and many state lawmakers expressed concern the limit would be unconstitutional -- jeopardizing other abortion limits in Ohio and expanding access to legal abortions.
The measure initially had stalled in both chambers as leaders sought legal advice as to whether the bill could withstand a court challenge. It passed the House in June and had remained pending in the Senate since.
Its demise Tuesday marked the end of one of the noisiest lobbying efforts in recent state memory.