Note: This post has been updated to reflect the passage of the 20 week abortion ban. Further updates with respect to Gubernatorial action will be made at the bottom, along with the date of the update.
As the Ohio General Assembly wraps up its work for this two year cycle and prepares for adjournment, two competing proposals that would restrict abortion are under consideration for enactment.
The first bill to achieve legislative support is the "Heartbeat Bill." Introduced as HB 69, this legislation was written to ban abortions after a fetal heartbeat can be detected had been passed by the House in 2015 but not acted on in the Senate. The general contents of that legislation were eventually amended into HB 493, legislation dealing with child neglect and abuse. The amended legislation was passed by both chambers of the legislature and will be sent to Governor John Kasich. Governor Kasich can sign the bill into law or he can veto all or part of the bill (the bill contains an appropriation, so is eligible for a line-item veto).
A second piece of legislation, the "Pain Capable" bill would ban abortion after 20 weeks, a time when unborn children are believed to be able to feel pain. The General Assembly also passed this proposal, SB 127, sending it to the Governor for consideration.
Neither bill contains exceptions for rape, incest, or fetal abnormality, unlike Ohio's current law, which generally prohibits abortion after the point of viability, with some exceptions. Ohio law presumes fetal viability at 24 weeks and requires viability testing after 20.
What does this mean? Well, while we cheer for any law that protects innocent human life, passage either (or both) pieces of legislation will likely set off a series of legal battles during which a variety of strategic and idealistic battles will continue to take place. This means that contrary to doing a victory dance or patting ourselves on the backs, we need to become more engaged than we have ever been before. Now is NOT the time for a spirit of victory or of complacency, as those who rally for abortion will be more vocal and more well-funded than ever before. A national abortion giant recently announced that it has received more than $300,000 in donations in honor of VP-elect Mike Pence in the weeks since the election. Abortion allies are in the media, in the marketplace, in our schools, and even in our churches. We must not grow weary now, instead renewing our spirit, energy, and commitment to the pro-life cause.
I would invite you to consider joining us this Saturday for our annual Carols at the Clinic at 10:00 am outside of Founder's Clinic (1243 E Broad Street). Consider also hosting a Soles for Souls donation site, or drop a pair off at our office or another central Ohio drop location. We also would love for you to layer-up and join our sidewalk prayer team for an hour or two before Christmas. Finally, if you appreciate the work that we are doing and would like to help us meet our 2016 year-end goal of $12,000, you can donate in a variety of ways online.
UPDATE: (12/9/16): There is a significant effort by those who oppose this law to contact the Governor's office to ask him to veto the pro-life provisions. If you would like to weigh in in support of the legislation, you may call the Governor's office at 614-466-3555 or online here: http://www.governor.ohio.gov/contact/contactthegovernor.aspx. Please remember that any letters, emails, and even phone messages that you leave are a matter of public record.
Dispatch Letters to the Editor (against) the proposals
CNN Coverage of Both Bills
Washington Post: Why it will not work.