News Abortion

Heartbeat Bill Supporters, Rejected By Ohio Right to Life, Create Their Own Nonprofit

Robin Marty

Ohio has given birth to yet another anti-choice advocacy group.

Like the snubbed little kid who says if he can’t join the club, he’ll go start his own, proponents of the Ohio bill that would ban abortions at the moment a heartbeat can be discerned have started their own anti-choice nonprofit.

Via the Hudson Hub Times:

In a further sign of the split between abortion opponents in the state, a group pushing lawmakers to ban the procedure within weeks of conception has formed a new nonprofit to serve as its official voice on policy issues and political candidates.

Ohio ProLife Action includes individuals who have been backing the so-called Heartbeat Bill, legislation that would ban abortions if a fetal heartbeat is detected.

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The announcement Oct. 12 marks an official break between Heartbeat Bill proponents and Ohio Right to Life, which is not supporting the legislation.

The latter has said the bill would not stand up to legal challenges and could hurt other legislative efforts aimed at stopping abortions.

The real question?  Is Ohio ProLife Action going to go after Ohio Right to Life’s donors?  Because then things could get really ugly.

News Abortion

Ohio Lawmakers Weigh Anti-Choice Bill Banning Abortions Due to Down Syndrome Diagnosis

Teddy Wilson

Sponsored by Rep. Sarah LaTourette (R-Bainbridge Township), HB 135 would make it a felony to perform an abortion on a pregnant person who “is seeking the abortion solely because” of a fetal Down syndrome diagnosis.

Ohio lawmakers raised questions and concerns about a bill to ban abortion after a Down syndrome diagnosis, during a committee hearing last week.

Sponsored by Rep. Sarah LaTourette (R-Bainbridge Township), HB 135 would make it a felony to perform an abortion on a pregnant person who “is seeking the abortion solely because” of a fetal Down syndrome diagnosis.

The House Community and Family Advancement Committee held a hearing on the bill last week, and took witness testimony from seven proponents of the legislation. No testimony was taken from opponents.

During a committee hearing LaTourette said that the intent of the bill is to prevent discrimination, not to prevent access to abortion care.

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“I hope that you can see that this isn’t an issue about abortion; it’s an issue of discrimination,” said LaTourette, according to the Columbus Dispatch. “Discriminating against a person, not allowing them their God-given right to life, simply because they might have Down syndrome.”

Some Democratic lawmakers questioned how the state would be able to enforce the ban and why decisions based on one medical condition should be prohibited by the state and not others.

Rep. Kevin Boyce (D-Columbus) raised concerns on whether or not the bill could lead to prohibitions on certain prenatal medical tests.

“When you start to ban certain findings, then the next question is going to be [should] we start banning certain invasive testing,” Boyce said, reports the Ohio Record-Courier. “If we’re banning the outcomes of some of those, then are we [putting] the mother at risk by doing this invasive testing.”

Stephanie Ranade Krider, executive director of Ohio Right to Life, was among those who testified in favor of the bill. During her testimony Krider said that even though “abortion is never the right choice,” abortions due to a Down syndrome diagnosis are a “modern day practice of eugenics.”

“It’s particularly egregious that unborn children can be denied life simply due to the presence of a disability or an extra chromosome,” said Krider.

Ohio Right to Life listed the “Down Syndrome Non-Discrimination Act” among its top six legislative priorities for the state.

There have been seven bills to ban abortion due to genetic anomalies introduced in state legislatures this year, and none have been passed.

House Community and Family Advancement Committee Chairman Rep. Timothy Derickson (R-Oxford) said that the committee would hear more testimony before casting a vote on whether or not to recommend the bill for passage by the full house, according to the Columbus Dispatch.

Republicans hold a 65-34 majority in the house, and 23-10 majority in the senate.

News Abortion

Ohio House Approves Abortion Bill Deemed Extreme by Some Anti-Choice Activists

Nina Liss-Schultz

The Ohio house on Thursday passed a bill to ban abortion after a fetal heartbeat can be detected, as early as six weeks into a pregnancy, before many people know they are pregnant. A similar six-week ban approved in North Dakota several years ago was found to be unconstitutional.

The Ohio house on Thursday passed a bill to ban abortion after a fetal heartbeat can be detected, as early as six weeks into a pregnancy, before many people know they are pregnant. A similar six-week ban approved in North Dakota several years ago was found to be unconstitutional.

Republican Gov. John Kasich, along with anti-choice advocates in the state, have said they cannot support the bill, HB 69, because it is clearly unconstitutional.

“My feeling about it is I share the concerns of Right to Life about this bill and about potential litigation, but it’s a long way to Tipperary,” Kasich told the Columbus Dispatch on the eve of the vote in the GOP-controlled house. “The house is not the senate and it’s not through, so I like not to comment too much on pending legislation.”

Ohio Right to Life, which is attempting to push through other restrictive abortion laws, including a 20-week ban, did not support previous versions of HB 69 because it has been found to be patently unconstitutional.

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“Even if we disagree about abortion, we can agree it’s best for each person to make her own decision,” said Jennifer Dalven, director of the ACLU’s Reproductive Freedom Project. “The bill is designed to make that impossible by essentially banning abortion. Not only is this bill extremely wrong-headed and terrible for women and families, there’s absolutely no way it will ever stand up in court.”

The Ohio house has once before passed a so-called fetal heartbeat ban, but the proposal died in the senate. A similar bill was introduced last year but did not make it through the house.

This year, the bill, which had 50 co-sponsors, passed the house by a vote of 55 to 40. The bill would make providing an abortion after the detection of a heartbeat a fifth-degree felony for the physician, with a fine of up to $2,500.

Though an exception is provided for the health of the pregnant person, the bill gives no exception for pregnancy resulting from rape or incest.

Republicans control both the Ohio house and senate by wide margins.