A controversial abortion bill that failed in the last general assembly is back again. The heartbeat bill, the legislation that would ban abortion at the point a fetal heartbeat can be detected, has been re-introduced.
Janet Folger Porter, the head of a group that pushed the heartbeat bill last time around, had this to say to reporters at the Ohio Statehouse.
"Just suffice it to say, did you really think we were going to give up, really?" says Folger Porter.
The Ohio lawmaker who led the charge with the bill last time around is leading the charge again. Republican Representative Lynn Wachtman said the bill that would ban abortions at the point a fetal heartbeat is detected is necessary in order to save lives of babies. And he said those who claim his bill is a war on women need to think about it this way:
"I would remind you the real war on women is the abortionists, the slayers of those young babies, young girls in their wombs who take their lives. That is the real war on women."
In addition to the fetal heartbeat test, Representative Christina Hagan said the new bill mandates inspections of abortion clinics.
"We will now have inspectors in our abortion clinics to insure that the regulations that we are putting in place as far as fetal heartbeat goes are being held up," says Hagan.
This time around, Hagan said the bill also includes a commission to study ways to improve adoption in Ohio. There’s something else different this time around, the way the bill was kicked off. An Arkansas couple, stars of a reality t.v. show, were on hand for the announcement of the bill’s return and for a fundraiser for the group backing the bill. Seventeen of their nineteen kids made the overnight trek to Ohio to be part of the event. The mom, Michelle Duggar, said it’s important for Ohioans to pass this bill.
"In our nation, there is a baby holocaust taking place where doctors and nurses are being able to take the lives of innocent unborn children," says Duggar.
"Just one month after Governor Kasich enacted one of the worst anti-choice laws in the country, we are back with another piece of legislation, this time one that would effectively ban abortion before women even know they are pregnant," says Kellie Copeland with NARAL Pro Choice Ohio. "And it wouldn’t have any exceptions that would protect women’s health or even rape or incest. It’s a heartless bill."
Copeland points out this bill has passed in other states and has been struck down by courts. She says if Ohio lawmakers pass this bill, they will be wasting their time and money.
"If it is passed, it will waste hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of taxpayer dollars that I think would be better spent on increasing access to health care rather than using taxpayer dollars to challenge Roe vs Wade which has been the law of the land for 40 years," says Copeland.
Mike Gonadakis of Ohio Right to Life says his group isn’t interested in fighting for the heartbeat bill.
"Pro lifers can have differences on tactics and strategies and that appears to be the case this time."
Ohio Right to Life had concerns over the constitutionality of the heartbeat bill when it was considered by the legislature last year too. Gonadakis say his group will focus on passing reforms that make it easier and less costly to adopt children in Ohio.