From the diaries…
Discussions regarding fetal personhood are unfortunately never-ending. In some minds, questions persist on life’s beginnings, what ‘quality of life’ is acceptable, and what crimes should unquestionably be “rectified” through (a second crime of) abortion. Recent legislation in the Ohio House of Representatives is focusing on specific restrictions on abortions which, surprisingly, not all pro-lifers support.
On Wednesday, the Ohio House of Representatives passed the “heartbeat bill” by a vote of 55-40. This is the third such passage of a similar type of bill following HB125 which passed in 2011, and then HB248 passed during the 2013-2014 session. Neither of those versions became law. This session’s similar legislation:
…would ban abortions once a fetal heartbeat can be detected, which usually occurs at six weeks of pregnancy.
While the bill is not expected to survive the Ohio Senate, it would also not be expected to make it past the desk of Ohio’s Governor, Republican John Kasich. The Governor, along with some in the pro-life spectrum, are against the measure.
Kasich and pro-life groups such as Right to Life have expressed concerns that the heartbeat bill is unconstitutional and could result in litigation that might result in a federal judge easing existing restrictions on abortions.
The Ohio Right to Life has been opposed to previous versions of the bill as well, with concerns reported on the 2011 attempt including:
…a legal battle over the bill could end up overturning other pro-life laws in Ohio, such as informed consent requirements.
Further, the pro-life group worries that taxpayers would have to foot the bill for a lengthy court battle that could end up costing millions.
These issues seem to be the same ones raised by Republicans, such as Governor Kasich, and pro-life groups, during this third attempt to see a version of the heartbeat bill become law. All the listed repercussions remain speculation, and it is disheartening to see those identifying as pro-life feel restricted by their worries. Certainly a heartbeat bill would be one of the most damning to the abortion industry in Ohio, but that should be our goal, should it not? Are we to only fight for the rights of the unborn if a clean, hassle-free victory is assured?
On the same day the controversial heartbeat bill passed through the Ohio House, another abortion restriction bill, more widely supported by pro-lifers, was introduced there. This is the Down Syndrome Non-Discrimination Act. According to the Ohio Right to Life:
The legislation, sponsored by Representatives Sarah LaTourette and David Hall, could make Ohio the first in the nation to prohibit abortions from taking place on the basis of a Down syndrome diagnosis. Multiple studies demonstrate that upwards of 90 percent of babies diagnosed with Down syndrome are aborted. Sixteen legislators signed on as co-sponsors of the bill.
This legislation is a remarkable step in an environment too quick to conclude what lives are worth living. Determining that a life should be destroyed only because said life is diagnosed with a condition that would cause development to never reach beyond a certain level is nothing short of discrimination. Hopefully this bill will pass through both the House and Senate, and become law.
I don’t believe timidity should be the game plan in a fight for the rights of the unborn. If we as conservatives truly believe life begins at conception, then the starting line of our fight should begin as close to that as possible. Understandably, we may not be successful in seeing measures survive court proceedings in an abortion-friendly era, but does that mean we should not try? I applaud Ohio seeking to restrict abortion through multiple legislative measures during this session. However, unpopularity or concern over reelection (if that is the case with some) should never cause pro-life legislators or activists to pause. The future is at stake, and time – whether here or in the precariousness of the womb – is not on our side.