Same old story. The same old song and dance.
In the last legislative Session the Ohio House of Representatives decided a major problem that faced the once moderate State of Ohio was Abortion. So they acted.
After passing their version of Senate Bill 5, gutting Public Sector Union rights and passing a draconian budget, they turned their attention to women. As attention was directed at trying to stop the union busting bill in the Senate the House went to work.
In 2010 the GOP gained control of both Ohio Houses. As I remember the election cycle in '10 was the GOP slamming Democrats for losing jobs in Ohio during the worst economic meltdown since the Great Depression. The litany was job,jobs, jobs, mirroring the National Party's strategy to retake the US House of Representatives. If abortion was mentioned I don't recall it being a front and center promise by the Republicans.
Republican Rep Danny Bubp cited the 2010 Election as a vote for change which the Caucus sees as a green light to go after abortion rights in Ohio. Thus the Heartbeat Bill was introduced. The bill's primary purpose was to ban abortion after the detection of a fetal heartbeat. That occurs at about six to seven weeks, before most women even know they are pregnant.
The bill was written as a direct challenge to Roe v. Wade which permits abortion, as a woman's right, until fetal viability outside the womb, commonly seen as 24 weeks. Everyone knew the bill would not stand judicial scrutiny as to its constitutionality. Speaker of the Ohio House Bachelder even said they were writing bills for the courts. After slashing the Ohio Budget to the bone saying education, safety nets and safety services were unaffordable at pre-2011 levels an expensive court fight was reasonable. Because, you know......FREEDOM.
The bill garnered forty-eight Republican co-sponsors. It contained no provision for rape, incest or the mental health of the mother. Janet Folger Porter the former legislative Director for Ohio Right To LIfe called the bill the most "protective" in the nation. Opponents called it the most restrictive.
This bill was called unconstitutional by Ohio Right To Life and they urged the House not to pass it. They saw no point in a protracted, expensive court fight on a loser of a law. They were also concerned a loss on this fight could roll back the restrictions Ohio had passed and were planning.They were ignored as the House opened a mortifying example of political theater. Ohio was about to take center stage in the National theater of the absurd.
In committee the GOP had fetal testimony via ultrasound to have the heartbeat heard and the fetus seen on a big screen. One woman who was nine weeks along, when they had trouble finding a heartbeat quipped if a vaginal probe was used there'd be no problem. This witty comment drew chuckles from the men on the committee. A classy bunch, these Republicans.
An attorney said many women who are raped want to carry that child to term as a form of victory over their rapist. This elicited gasps from women in the audience. Surprising since who knows how a woman feels about rape better than a man. He also mentioned had Romeo been able to detect Juliet's heartbeat he wouldn't have committed suicide and would have saved Juliet from that fate as well. When your reasons to push a bill are mostly fictional you may as well cite a play.
The only comment Ohio Governor John Kasich had was the bill may not be a good for attracting new businesses to Ohio.
The Heartbeat bill hearings and vote were the caliope for the political circus that was Ohio during 2011. It passed along a party line vote and went to the Senate. The Ohio GOP was in the process of being bitch slapped by voters over the Union busting bill and The Senate Majority Leader quashed the abortion bill in the Senate. It never made it out of committee before the session ended in 2012.
Since the Republicans controlled all the Statewide offices and both Houses of the Legislature they gerrymandered the State to within an inch of it's life. The result was a larger, veto proof, more extreme GOP Legislative majority.
When the new Legislative session began Ohio was under the gun for a new biennial budget. They prohibited Medicaid expansion. Also because it is an important budgetary issue, they passed extremely restrictive abortion regulations and redefined pregnancy in the budget. For good measure let's slide these provisions in at the last minute to prevent public hearings.
Many observers felt since these regulations were so restrictive Governor Kasich would use the line item veto to remove them. He got the budget on Friday afternoon. Over the weekend he reminded everyone within earshot of his pro life credentials. Every chance he got and the media gave him numerous chances. On Monday, surrounded by only men, he declined to veto those measures.
This was celebrated as a victory by the pro lifers. They were giddy with self righteous joy.
At this time Texas was hogging the headlines with their own abortion extravaganza so Ohio didn't receive the outrage it should have. Once more this is portrayed as a Southern attitude as Ohio tries to out crazy Texas. Which they have since Texas hasn't redefined the definition of when pregnancy starts. Yet. The North has proved this isn't a regional issue. It is a Republican Priority to appease the base.
Since to the Ohio GOP the provisions of the budget didn't restrict abortion enough they decided to revisit the issue. The Heartbeat Bill is on a comeback tour.
The anti-abortion group Faith2Action sponsored the presser to announce the CPR on the Heartbeat Bill. Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar,along with seventeen of their nineteen children, attended and endorsed the bill. The circus is putting the big top back up.
One should expect the absurdities once more as the Republicans posture and proclaim their pro life credentials prior to the 2014 elections. Red meat galore will be thrown around the State House. Political theater masquerading as thoughtful debate in committee. After all being a Republican officeholder in Ohio make you a de facto OB/GYN and qualified to direct MD's in the proper, moral way to practice medicine.
Once more into the breech.
Our voices need to be raised.
The bill will pass the House. It may pass the Senate. I believe Kasich, as he positions himself for a run at the White House will sign it. There is no better way to prove you are a champion of marginalizing women than signing a bill that won't survive a court test. You tried but those activist judges thwarted the will of Ohioans.
We need to yell, NO! Reasonable Buckeyes need to make this an issue. Force the GOP to proudly show how they feel about women in this State.
We need to get out the vote and try to overcome the gerrymandered districts and take back the State from the Taliban.
Make it loud.
Make it local.
Make it Statewide.
Make it National.
Make Kasich a one term Governor.
Stop his Presidential hopes here and now.
JUST SAY NO.