News Abortion

Ohio GOP Leader Promises Heartbeat Ban Will Be Back in 2013

Robin Marty

The Ohio legislature hasn't even sworn in yet and its new Speaker is already promising to bring up the Heartbeat Ban.

Ohio women received a short reprieve at the end of the 2012 legislative session, as a final attempt to pass the “Heartbeat” ban, a bill that would outlaw a large share of early abortions, was blocked by the outgoing Speaker Tom Niehaus.

This year, things are already looking much different for the bill. Despite the fact that new members of the body have yet to be sworn in, the new Speaker has already proclaimed he is ready to move on the bill. According to Innovation Ohio, House Speaker Bill Batchelder said that “there is no question” that the bill will be reintroduced at some point during the 2013 session.

Batchelder hasn’t been one to mince words about his enthusiasm for the proposed restriction, which he can’t wait to see become immediately enjoined as it spurs a legal battle. Shortly after the proposal passed the House initially back in 2011, Batchelder told Reuters that “We’re writing bills for courts.” Neither his priorities nor his zeal for a court fight appear to have been daunted by the protracted battle within the state’s own anti-choice factions or the senate’s refusal to move forward on the bill.

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Commentary Politics

No GOP Candidate Will Be ‘Really Good for Women’

Kathleen Turner

GOP presidential frontrunner Donald Trump's claim this week that he is “going to be really good for women" is beyond outrageous. But the truth is that as bad as Trump is on women’s issues, his positions are in line with the Republican Party as a whole, including the other GOP candidates.

In his Super Tuesday press conference this week, GOP presidential frontrunner Donald Trump insisted with a straight face that he is “going to be really good for women.” Never mind that just seconds earlier, Trump had pledged to defund Planned Parenthood so long as it has, in his words, “the abortion going on.” Never mind that this is a man who has taken every opportunity to demean the women around him with insults ranging from “bimbo” to “dog” to “fat pig.” Never mind that Trump’s analysis of the gender pay gap is that “you’re gonna make the same if you do as good a job.” No, Trump insists, he’ll be just great for women if elected president.

His claim is beyond outrageous, but the truth is that as bad as Donald Trump is on women’s issues, his positions are in line with the Republican Party as a whole, including the other GOP candidates. It’s just that Trump’s brand of brash, insulting rhetoric is what jumps out the most.

One look at Sen. Marco Rubio’s record is enough to see his extremism on issues affecting women’s physical and economic well-being. Rubio has said that he personally believes all abortions should be banned except in cases of life endangerment, but that he would sign legislation with exceptions for survivors of rape or incest if forced to compromise. Rubio once called focusing on raising the minimum wage a “waste of time.” (People making minimum wage, disproportionately women of color, might not agree that it’s such a waste.) Rubio voted against the 2013 Violence Against Women Act. Yes, you read that right—he cast a vote in opposition to reauthorizing a measure responding to the epidemic of violence against women. He believes the Supreme Court needs justices who “understand” that past rulings protecting abortion rights and marriage equality are “constitutionally flawed”—a statement that is particularly alarming as the current Supreme Court vacancy fight highlights the impact of Court composition on our basic rights and liberties.

Sen. Ted Cruz’s record is just as concerning. Cruz believes that the federal government should have no role in deciding if businesses should be able to deny paid family leave to their workers, and called a bill to address the gender pay gap a “political show vote.” He has expressed support for a radical “personhood” constitutional amendment that would not only criminalize all abortions, but could also make some forms of birth control illegal as well. Perhaps most disturbing of all, Cruz touted the endorsement of an extreme anti-choice activist who has written that it is the duty of the government to execute doctors who provide abortions.

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Meanwhile, the so-called moderate in the race is no better on these issues. As governor of Ohio, John Kasich has overseen the closing of a full half of the abortion clinics in the state. He’s signed every single anti-choice bill that has made its way to his desk. This includes a bill just last month to defund Planned Parenthood in the state, which Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards has said will have “devastating consequences for women across Ohio.” 

The entire slate of Republican presidential candidates, without exception, holds dangerous and extreme views on the issues that shape women’s lives. From praising activists who believe abortion doctors should be killed to voting against the Violence Against Women Act, the GOP candidates are wildly out of touch with the lived experiences of women.

News Law and Policy

Ohio Bill Would Effectively Ban Abortion as Early as Six Weeks

Nina Liss-Schultz

Fifty Ohio legislators on Tuesday sponsored a so-called fetal heartbeat abortion ban, the third of its kind to be introduced in the state house in recent years.

Fifty Ohio legislators on Tuesday sponsored a so-called fetal heartbeat abortion ban, the third of its kind to be introduced in the state house in recent years.

HB 69, proposed by House Speaker Cliff Rosenberger (R-Clarksville), would outlaw abortion after a heartbeat can be detected in the fetus. That can happen as early as six weeks into a pregnancy, a time before many people are aware they’re pregnant.

Violating the law would be a fifth-degree felony for the physician, and could result in up to a year in prison and a fine of $2,500.

The proposed legislation includes an exception to allow abortions when needed to protect the health of the pregnant person. The bill also would create a legislative committee to promote adoption in such cases.

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“Fetal heartbeat” bans are considered so untenable that even most anti-choice groups don’t support them. Ohio Right to Life, the state’s most powerful anti-choice group, was not in favor of the previous version of HB 69, which has been introduced twice in the Ohio house.

“Politicians do not know or understand a woman’s specific situation,” Stephanie Kight, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood Advocates of Ohio, said in a statement. “They shouldn’t be allowed to make personal decisions on her behalf. Women, their families and physicians should be trusted and respected to make the health care decision that is best for their family.”

“HB 69 is bad law and bad medicine, and is unconstitutional and unnecessary,” Kight added. “We need our legislators to work toward expanding access to health care instead of restricting it.”

Similar bans have led to lengthy court challenges in other states, including Arkansas and North Dakota.

Meanwhile, Ohio Right to Life this year has said it will focus on other restrictions on abortion, including a 20-week ban, and a bill to de-fund Planned Parenthood.

Republicans control both chambers of the Ohio legislature by wide margins.

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