State--UPDATES AMENDED SUBSTITUTE HOUSE BILL 49 (Ryan Smith): The state's biennial budget for Fiscal years 2018 and 2019, which passed the House of Representatives on a vote of 58-37, is currently under consideration by the Ohio Senate, who on June 12 released their substitute version of the bill, removing a number of provisions put in the bill by the House. The Senate plans to have amendments submitted to the committee by the 15th, will bring an omnibus amendment the week of the 19th, and plan to vote the bill from committee and from the Senate by June 21st. The budget will, by Constitutional mandate, need to be in place by the start of the state fiscal year, July 1st.
The Senate Finance Committee chose to re-authorize the Parenting and Pregnancy Support Act provisions, but at a significantly reduced level of funding. The program will now allocate $100,000 per fiscal year for pregnancy care centers to access. This provision, which was not included in the Governor's executive budget, or resurrected in the House version, may not survive the Committee of Conference final report, which will happen when the House, as is usual, rejects concurring with the Senate version of the bill. The conference committee will meet from June 21st to potentially June 30th.
SENATE BILL 28: Sponsored by Senator Joe Uecker, this bill would make changes to Ohio law to ensure the proper recording, and humane disposition, of the remains of unborn children killed by abortion. Based on investigative findings from the Attorney General which indicated that with the current record-keeping it was impossible to determine for certain if Planned Parenthood's Ohio affiliates had engaged in the illegal sale of body parts, the bill would require more exact record keeping and that the remains of the child must be either interred (buried) or individually cremated by a licensed funeral home or crematoria, whichever the mother chooses.
The bill has been assigned to the Senate Government Oversight and Reform Committee, and it has been given one hearing so far to hear the sponsor's testimony. Discussions with the Chairman of the committee (Senator Bill Coley) are ongoing. Planned Parenthood representatives have also been meeting with the chairman. Pray that the Chairman will let the bill move forward without amendments to weaken the legislation.
It is unclear as to whether or not the chair of the committee will schedule the bill for further hearings prior to the summer legislative recess after the budget bill has been finalized.
HOUSE BILL 149: The Abortion Trafficking Prevention Act, introduced by Representatives Margy Conditt (R-Butler County) and Bill Patmon (D-Cleveland) is a bill designed to make sure that abortionists cannot profit by allowing access by a third party to the body parts of aborted babies, even if this doesn't constitute “selling” the body parts. Although Ohio already makes it illegal to sell parts, this bill seeks to close potential legal loopholes, and increase the penalty from the current first degree misdemeanor to a third degree felony, which is the current standard for trafficking in non-fetal body parts.
RTLACO is working with the sponsors of the bill to address some key definitions in the bill to make sure that there won't be ambiguity which can lead to further court challenges of the measure's enactment. The bill has had three hearings in the House Health Committee (Rep. Dr. Stephen Huffman, chairman). Research hospitals, led by Ohio State University, have raised concerns over the bill, and the chair and sponsors are meeting with them to iron out these issues. The chair has announced plans to take amendments and to vote the bill from the committee to the House floor by the end of June.
SENATE BILL 145: The dismemberment abortion ban bill, sponsored by Senators Matt Huffman (R-Lima) and Steve Wilson (R-Lebanon), has been introduced in the Ohio Senate. The bill would make the tearing or cutting procedure to dissect a living unborn child (a D&E abortion) a fourth degree felony. The bill was given its first (sponsor testimony) hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee on June 13th. Further hearings will be scheduled for the legislation.
One provision of the bill is troubling, however. Section 2919.15 (E) would add to Ohio law a “clarification” that may create problems for more pro-life advances in the future. The language, part of the definition of “dismemberment abortion” in the bill, states the following: “This section does not prohibit the suction curretage procedure of abortion or the suction aspiration procedure of abortion.” These two methods are usually used in the first trimester to kill an unborn child, so their exemption in the language of the ban of a procedure used in the second trimester is puzzling at best. Adding this “green-light” provision to those procedures also may be used by pro-abort challenges as legal precedent in the future, in essence that the Assembly specifically does not want to ban those methods.
It is unclear as to whether or not this bill will be voted on in the committee or by the Senate prior to the summer legislative break. Discussion will be held with the Committee chairman (Sen. Kevin Bacon) and the sponsors to attempt to clean up the language.
Newly introduced measures
House Bill 214: Representatives Sarah LaTourette of Madison and Derek Merrin of Monclova Township have re-introduced this bill, which would ban abortions upon children which have, or are suspected to have, a diagnosis of Down's Syndrome, whether the diagnosis or suspicion is in whole or in part a reason for seeking the abortion. Reporting requirements upon the abortion provider add an extra level of scrutiny. The bill has been assigned to the House Health Committee, which has not yet scheduled hearings.
RTLACO has prepared a comparison document between this session's version of the bill and the version that was previously introduced. The measure has been significantly improved and strengthened due in part to concerns raised by the Coalition.
House Bill 234: Democrat members of the House, led by Stephanie Howse of Cleveland and Michelle Lepore-Hagan of Youngstown, have reintroduced a number of bill that seek to protect abortion access. 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. It has been assigned to the House Criminal Justice Committee, whose chair, Rep. Nathan Manning, has been a consistent pro-choice vote. Pray that this bill would not move forward during this session. There has not, as of this writing, been introduced a Senate companion version of the bill.
House Bill 248: Another attack by pro-abortion Democrat members is aimed at the provision of teaching sexual abstinence in the schools. Representatives Nickie Antonio of Lakewook, and Michelle Lepore-Hagan have reintroduced this bill which would require “(mandated insurance) coverage for prescription contraceptive drugs and devices, the provision of certain hospital and pregnancy prevention services for victims of sexual assault (emergency contraception, even at religious-centric hospitals), the dispensing of hormonal contraceptives to adults without a prescription, and comprehensive sexual health and sexually transmitted infection education in schools” which would also include the repeal of the state's Abstinence Until Marriage education law.
The bill, which has been reintroduced for at least four sessions, has been assigned to the House Health Committee. RTLACO will be working with Chairman Steve Huffman to make sure this legislation will not move forward during this session either.
House Bill 258: the Heartbeat Bill: The very contentious fight over this important pro-life legislation is far from over, as the Legislature, after having adopted the bill in December, saw the Governor veto the provision and kill the law.
The measure is, as of June 6th, re-introduced with 50 co-sponsors (the necessary votes to pass the bill, but not to override another veto by the Governor, which is likely). The measure is the same as was passed by the House last session. It does not include an appropriation for the as-created-by-the-bill Joint Committee on Adoption Promotion and Support, but that may be a sticking point should be bill move to the Senate during this session.
The bill has not, of this writing, been assigned to a committee for Hearings. It may be that the House, having voted this bill in a substantially similar form now four times, may move it rapidly to the floor to put it before the Senate.
Greater Toledo Right to Life 5726 Southwyck Blvd., Ste. 120 Toledo, Ohio 43614 phone: (419)535-5800