The Ohio Right to Life's Unborn Child Dignity Act (S.B. 28) was approved by the Senate Government Oversight and Reform committee 7 to 3. This legislation requires the humane burial or cremation of unborn children following an abortion. The legislation also increases informed consent for women seeking abortions. The Unborn Child Dignity Act is sponsored by Senator Joe Uecker. The legislation now heads to the Senate floor for a full vote.
The Unborn Child Dignity Act was introduced after the release of viral undercover videos in which top officials at Planned Parenthood were caught discussing the trade of aborted baby body parts. Later, state investigators discovered that Planned Parenthood locations in Ohio contracted with waste disposal companies that deposited the remains of aborted children in landfills.
The Right to Life Action Coalition of Ohio (RTLACO) worked with the sponsor Senator Uecker to strengthen and eliminate potential loopholes contained in the original draft. “We appreciated Senator Uecker’s willingness to make it the best bill possible”, said Ed Sitter, Executive Director of Foundation for Life and the 2017 President of the RTLACO. Thanks go out to pro-life communities across Ohio who contacted their Senators and to Paul Coudron, Executive Director of Dayton Right to Life (an Action Coalition board member), and Barry Sheets, RTLACO board member, for their proponent testimony.
“It’s important that we enact pro-life legislation that will do what it advertised to do” said Sitter. “This is another classic example of where diversity of voices within the Pro-life community is an asset to ensuring we enact the best bill possible.”
Pro-Life Legislative Update-January 2018 Barry Sheets, Legislative Agent RIGHT TO LIFE ACTION COALITION OF OHIO 2018 marks the 2nd year of the two-year session for the Ohio General Assembly. Given that there will be primary and general elections for all 99 House seats and 17 Senate seats, this year’s legislative activity will likely be fast and furious, as many “marquee” issues will be pushed to finish before the May primary elections.
State--UPDATES SENATE BILL 28: The bill is finally starting to see movement (thank you to all who contacted your Senator or the Chair of the Senate Government Oversight Committee). Proponent testimony was scheduled the second week of December, with Paul Coudron, Executive Director of Dayton Right to Life and myself both offering support testimony on the bill. Working with the sponsor, we believe that an amended version of the bill will be reported from the committee to the full Senate this week!
HOUSE BILL 149: There has been no movement on the bill since the last report.
SENATE BILL 145: The bill to prohibit dismemberment abortions has to date not been scheduled for a hearing in the House Criminal Justice Committee.
House Bill 214/Senate Bill 164: The Down’s Syndrome Abortion ban bill has been passed by the entire General Assembly (in the form of House Bill 214) and has been signed by Governor Kasich. There is still a long way to go, however, as the measure will not take effect for 90 days (late March/early April), which leaves plenty of time for pro-abortion advocates to file lawsuits against the bill’s enactment. We will keep you posted should legal action commence.
House Bill 234: This bill would create a first degree misdemeanor (fourth degree felony for multiple violations) for “impeding access” to an abortion facility. This bill has been introduced for the last three sessions without success. The bill was given sponsor testimony on November 1st. No further hearings have been scheduled to date.
House Bill 258--the Heartbeat Bill: The Heartbeat Bill has been passed from the House Health Committee on a vote of 11-5 along party lines. Republican representatives Theresa Gavarone of Bowling Green and Mike Duffey of Dublin did not vote. Heartbeat is likely to be put on the House floor in the near future and sent once again to the Ohio Senate to hopefully receiving hearings and a vote.
House Bill 273—Prohibition on maintenance of certification for physicians: The bill, sponsored by Rep. Theresa Gavarone of Bowling Green, would eliminate provisions of law requiring physicians to secure a maintenance of certification as a condition of obtaining liscensure, reimbursement, or employment or obtaining admitting privileges or surgical privileges at a hospital or health care facility. The bill has run into significant opposition from the Hospital Association and others. The bill is not expected to move forward in the near future.
House Bill 302—Minor access to family planning: This bill was given a first (sponsor) hearing at the beginning of December. A “substitute” bill was adopted as the vehicle. This substitute still has the same flaws as the original bill. “Health care” is defined in the bill as “treatment or services intended to maintain the life or improve the health of either a pregnant minor or the unborn child she is carrying”, this could, under interpretation by a abortion-sympathetic judge, be ruled as including abortion services (since “family planning services” are specifically authorized in the bill), which would effectively operationally nullify Ohio’s current laws regarding parental notification and consent. Further changes nullify parental, guardian or spousal consent for these services to minors. This bill may be given further hearings. Due to the dangerous nature of this language, we will be advocating opposition to the measure.
Senate Bill 178—MOLST: The bill has still not been scheduled for hearings as of this writing. A joint letter from dozens of pro-life and pro-family groups was sent to all members of the Ohio Senate expressing opposition to this unwise policy change. We will keep you apprised specifically on this should hearings be given to this bill.
House Bill 332—Anatomical gift nondiscrimination: This bill was adopted by the House Health Committee on a vote of 16-0. It has yet to be voted on the House floor. The legislation, introduced by Republican Niraj Antani of Dayton, will make it illegal to discriminate against a person with a disability by denying coverage or approval for organ transplants based on the disability status.
FEDERAL There have been a number of bill introduced in the first year of the Congressional session dealing with aspects of abortion, from defunding of abortion providers to prohibiting abortion procedures. However, none of these have become law during this session. Thankfully, Presidential action has resulted in the re-imposition of the Mexico City Policy, to prohibit international aid funding from being used for abortions, and a re-establishment of a ban on providing abortion coverage in federal employee health policies.
H.R. 36—Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act--This measure to prohibit abortions after 20 weeks passed the House in October and was assigned to the Senate Judicary Committee. It was voted by the House of Representatives on October 3rd by a vote of 233-187. However, the sponsor, Rep. Trent Franks, has resigned his seat due to inappropriate conduct, so the future of this measure is in some question. All of Ohio’s Republican Congressional delegation, with the exception of Rep. Bill Johnson who was absent, voted in favor of the measure. All of the Democratic members of the delegation voted against.
H.R. 147---Prenatal Nondiscrimination Act (PRENDA)--This bill imposes criminal penalties on anyone who knowingly or knowingly attempts to: (1) perform an abortion knowing that the abortion is sought based on the sex, gender, color or race of the child, or the race of a parent; (2) use force or the threat of force to intentionally injure or intimidate any person for the purpose of coercing a sex-selection or race-selection abortion; (3) solicit or accept funds for the performance of such an abortion; or (4) transport a woman into the United States or across a state line for the purpose of obtaining such an abortion. Violations or attempted violations shall result in fines and/or imprisonment for up to five years. The bill is cosponsored by Ohio Congressmen Bill Johnson, Bob Latta, Bob Gibbs, Pat Tiberi and Jim Jordan.
Again, unfortunately, the sponsor of this measure was also Rep. Trent Franks. Rep. Ann Wagner of Missouri has reintroduced the measure last month as H.R. 4660. So far, Ohio Congressmen Bill Johnson and Bob Gibbs have agreed to cosponsor the reintroduction.
H.R. 490—The federal Heartbeat Bill--Introduced in January 2017 by Congressman Steve King of Iowa and with 170 cosponsors, the federal version of the Heartbeat Bill received its first hearing in the House Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on the Constitution and Civil Justice on Nov. 1st. No further hearings have been posted for this measure to date. Ohio Congressmen Warren Davidson, Steve Chabot, Bob Gibbs, Jim Jordan, Jim Renacci, Brad Wenstrup, Bill Johnson, Bob Latta and Mike Turner are all cosponsors of the legislation.
Greater Toledo Right to Life 5726 Southwyck Blvd., Ste. 120 Toledo, Ohio 43614 phone: (419)535-5800