News Abortion

Ohio Session Ends With No Vote On Heartbeat Ban

Robin Marty

The senate has now adjourned without any closure on the proposal to ban abortion from the moment a heartbeat can be detected.

The Ohio legislature has adjourned, but the controversial “heartbeat ban” that would make abortion illegal before many women even knew they were pregnant did not get put up for a vote in the senate.

Via The Urbana Daily Citizen:

[Senate President Tom] Niehaus said he awaits consensus between two anti-abortion groups that are at odds, Faith2Action, which brought the bill to lawmakers, and Ohio Right to Life, which has declined to endorse it out of concern it can’t withstand a legal challenge. “I’ve been encouraging probably for almost a year now that the two sides sit down and talk,” Niehaus said. “I’m not sure that that’s happened yet. I’m confident that if they do that, they are likely to find some common ground that would then allow us to look at it in the fall.”

Neihaus had been pushed by Faith2Action to bring the bill to a vote despite a majority of anti-choice activists and lawyers worrying that the passage could cause a court case that might actually reaffirm Roe V. Wade and hurt the movement’s effort to end abortion.

Like This Story?

Your $10 tax-deductible contribution helps support our research, reporting, and analysis.

Donate Now

Neihaus essentially told the group in a strongly worded letter in May that the vote wasn’t going to happen.

Roundups Politics

Campaign Week in Review: GOP Candidates Offer a Collective ‘No’ on Merrick Garland

Ally Boguhn

Ohio Gov. John Kasich noted that while he thought the president shouldn’t have made a Supreme Court nomination, Republicans were also to blame for the chaos the matter has caused.

Republican presidential candidates this week reacted to President Barack Obama’s Supreme Court nominee exactly how you might expect, and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) released a plan to create an “AIDS and HIV-free generation.”

Republican Presidential Candidates React to Obama’s Supreme Court Nomination

Republican senators weren’t the only party members vowing to oppose Obama’s Supreme Court nomination this week. GOP presidential candidates also doubled down on their charges that the next president should be the one to appoint the replacement for the late Justice Antonin Scalia. 

Republican presidential candidates moved swiftly to denounce the president’s decision after Obama nominated D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals Chief Judge Merrick Garland to fill the vacant seat.

Like This Story?

Your $10 tax-deductible contribution helps support our research, reporting, and analysis.

Donate Now

“I think the next president should make the pick. And I think they shouldn’t go forward. And I believe I’m pretty much in line with what the Republicans are saying,” Donald Trump said on CNN’s New Day ahead of Obama’s decision.

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) took the opportunity to again attack Trump. “A so-called ‘moderate’ Democrat nominee is precisely the kind of deal that Donald Trump has told us he would make—someone who would rule along with other liberals on the bench like Justices Ginsburg and Sotomayor,” Cruz said in a statement on the nomination. “Make no mistake, if Garland were confirmed, he would side predictably with President Obama on critical issues such as undermining the Second Amendment, legalizing partial-birth abortion, and propping up overreaching bureaucratic agencies like the EPA and the IRS.”

Cruz reiterated that the Senate “should not vote on any nominee until the next president is sworn into office.”

Speaking in Pennsylvania Wednesday, Ohio Gov. John Kasich (R) noted that while he thought the president shouldn’t have made a nomination, Republicans were also to blame for the chaos the matter has caused.

“What I felt should have happened—I don’t think the president should have sent anybody up now,” Kasich said, according to CBS News. “Because it’s not going to happen. It’s just more division. Now we have more fighting, more fighting, more fighting.”

“I think this is not good for our country. It’s a roving debate. Both sides, you know, hands are guilty. That’s where we are,” Kasich concluded.

Across the aisle, Democratic presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Sanders called on Republicans to consider Garland. 

“He has chosen a nominee with considerable experience on the bench and in public service, a brilliant legal mind, and a long history of bipartisan support and admiration,” Clinton said in a statement on the decision. “Now, it’s up to members of the Senate to meet their own, and perform the Constitutional duty they swore to undertake.”

“Judge Garland is a strong nominee with decades of experience on the bench,” Sanders said in a statement. “Refusing to hold hearings on the president’s nominee would be unprecedented. President Obama has done his job. It’s time for Republicans to do theirs.”

However, speaking on MSNBC’s The Rachel Maddow Show Thursday night, Sanders noted that while he will support Garland, “there are some more progressive judges out there” who could have been picked, and if elected, he would ask Obama to withdraw Garland’s name so he could pick a nominee of his own.

Sanders Releases Plan to “Create an AIDS and HIV-Free Generation”

Sanders on Monday released his plan to combat HIV and AIDS, promising to expand treatment and help lower drug prices.

“Today, one of the biggest problems in caring for the 1.2 million Americans living with HIV is the crisis of access to affordable drugs,” reads the plan’s introduction. “One of the great moral issues of our day is that people with HIV and AIDS are suffering and, in some cases, dying in America because they can’t afford to pay the outrageous prices being charged for the medicine they need to live.”

Among the ideas in Sanders’ plan is the establishment of a “a multibillion-dollar prize fund to incentivize drug development,” which would award $3 billion annually to innovations in HIV and AIDS therapy. Sanders promised that his universal health-care plan would include efforts to ensure insurance companies could not discriminate against those with HIV or AIDS, that he would expand mental health and addiction treatment services, and to stop trade agreements such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) that would increase the price of medication.

Sanders’ plan notes that there should be “prevention and treatment beyond health care,” which would include civil rights protections for LGBTQ people and those living with HIV or AIDS, as well as ensuring that schools provide “age-appropriate, comprehensive sex education and all Americans should have access to scientifically-accurate information regarding HIV infection.”

This isn’t the first time Sanders has addressed HIV and AIDS, as the Hill reported. In May 2012, Sanders called for the elimination of HIV and AIDS drug monopolies, which he suggested keep prices for treatment so high that many are forced to go without.

“The simple fact is that the prices of patent medicines are a significant barrier to access to health for millions of uninsured and underinsured Americans and people die because of it,” Sanders said at the time, before the Senate Subcommittee on Primary Health and Retirement Security.

Sanders’ proposal came just days after rival Democratic presidential candidate Clinton faced harsh criticism for praising the late President Ronald Reagan and Nancy Reagan for having started a “a national conversation” on HIV and AIDS. Clinton later apologized for her remarks, noting a post on Medium that her assertion had been a “mistake.”

“To be clear, the Reagans did not start a national conversation about HIV and AIDS,” Clinton wrote. “That distinction belongs to generations of brave lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people, along with straight allies, who started not just a conversation but a movement that continues to this day.”

What Else We’re Reading

Comedian and television host Samantha Bee had the “perfect response” to MSNBC host Joe Scarborough telling Clinton she should “smile.”

A new report from the nonpartisan Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget found that Donald Trump’s health-care plan would leave 21 million Americans without health insurance “as the replacement health-care policies would only cover 5 percent of the 22 million individuals who would lose coverage upon the repeal of the Affordable Care Act. The study found that Trump’s plan would cost between $270 billion and $500 billion over the next ten years.

In an exclusive for Fusion, Jennifer Gerson Uffalussy reports on NARAL’s new campaign to hold Trump accountable for “the way he and his campaign have targeted and victimized women,” and contrast the Republican presidential candidate with Clinton.

Cecily Hilleary outlines for Voice of America the many ways voting restrictions and barriers impact Native Americans, many of whom are unable to get proof of citizenship or residency, face language barriers, and have to make hours-long trips to get to a polling location.

“I feel empty inside. I feel like I don’t have a say in the political process. This is taxation without representation all over again. If we already paid our debt, we should be released without the bondage. But we’re being punished for a lifetime,” Harold Pendas told ThinkProgress about losing his right to vote due to a felony conviction. Florida, which had a critical primary battle on Tuesday, blocked more than 1.5 million state residents from voting this week due to the state’s felon disenfranchisement laws.

International Business Times’ Ned Resnikoff explains how a Republican brokered convention could allow mega-donors a “second chance” to push through their favorite candidate to the nomination.

News Abortion

Indiana GOP’s ‘Heartbeat Act’ Would Ban Abortion at Six Weeks

Jenn Stanley

Indiana has a 20-week abortion ban, but this proposed bill would ban abortion after a fetal heartbeat is detected, usually at six weeks' gestation.

Indiana’s 2016 legislative sessions began this week, and one Indiana lawmaker has introduced legislation that would prohibit abortions once a fetal heartbeat is detected, which could be as early as six weeks’ gestation.

Sponsored by state Sen. Jim Banks (R-Columbia City), SB 144 would make it a felony to “perform or induce an abortion before determining whether the unborn human individual has a detectable heartbeat,” and after a heartbeat has been detected.

The proposed bill would modify Indiana’s current ban on abortions at 20 weeks post-fertilization.

Laws that place an undue burden on a person seeking abortion care before viability are unconstitutional, according to the 1992 Supreme Court decision, Planned Parenthood v. Casey.

Like This Story?

Your $10 tax-deductible contribution helps support our research, reporting, and analysis.

Donate Now

“This important legislation would protect unborn Hoosiers’ right to life and also includes important women’s health protections,” Banks said in a statement. “It is my hope that this bill would help continue the decline in abortions performed in Indiana.”

The bill, known as the “Indiana Heartbeat Act,” would not apply to instances in which the health or life of the mother is at risk. It would establish an interim study committee on adoption promotion and support.

“The abortion provisions of SB 144 are unconstitutional, directly in opposition to the viability criteria established in Roe v. Wade. However, Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky does support the formation of an interim study committee on adoption promotion,” Betty Cockrum, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky, said in statement.

This constitutes the latest attempt to restrict abortion access for Indianan women by the state’s GOP-dominated legislature. Republican Gov. Mike Pence promoted medically inaccurate information when he quietly signed a $3.5 million contract with Real Alternatives, an anti-choice group that refers women to partnering crisis pregnancy centers. The state contract charges that centers receiving funding cannot use it to promote contraceptive use or refer women to an abortion provider.

The Real Alternatives website includes misinformation, such as a causal link between abortion and breast cancer.

Anti-choice legislation has forced clinics throughout Indiana to close. There are six abortion providers practicing in Indiana, with none in the northern part of the state. Many women’s heath advocates believe that laws like the state’s informed consent law and its forced waiting period place an undue burden on people seeking and providing abortion services. These laws require patients seeking abortions to receive in-person “counseling” and written information from a physician or other health-care provider 18 hours before the abortion begins.

Banks, who is running for a congressional seat held by U.S. Rep. Marlin Stutzman, also filed SB 77, which would ban the use of public funds for research using fetal tissue in Indiana, including any research conducted at public universities.

Another bill proposed by Sen. James Tomes (R-Wadesville), SB 5, would raise penalties for the purchase and sale of fetal tissue in Indiana. Republicans in state legislatures across the country have proposed similar laws in the wake of attack videos released by the Center for Medical Progress, an anti-choice front group, claiming that Planned Parenthood illegally profited from the sale of fetal tissue. GOP-led investigations on the matter have turned up no wrongdoing on the part of Planned Parenthood.