Vitals Reporting on the pro-life movement

Ohio tries again with heartbeat bill

Abortion | The protections for the unborn pass the state House but face another likely veto from outgoing Gov. John Kasich
by Harvest Prude
Posted 11/19/18, 05:41 pm

Ohio state lawmakers are trying once again to shake the foundation of Roe v. Wade by protecting unborn babies from abortion after their heartbeats can be heard, typically at six to eight weeks’ gestation.

The Ohio House on Thursday passed a bill that would penalize anyone who performed an abortion on a baby with a detectable heartbeat. Abortionists violating the law could face a fifth-degree felony charge, the potential for up to one year in prison, and a $2,500 fine. The bill includes an exception for “substantial and irreversible” physical threat to the mother.

State Rep. Christina Hagan, a Republican who sponsored the bill, told WYTV in Youngstown that lawmakers drafted the legislation in direct opposition to Roe v. Wade: “Our intention is to go directly to the heart of Roe v. Wade and to challenge the question of when a life begins in the United States and when their constitutional protection is due to them.” Hagan, whose newborn twin sons were by her side during floor debate, added, “We know when a heartbeat stops that we have a lost a human life.”

This is not the first time lawmakers have attempted to pass the pro-life legislation. A similar bill cleared the House and Senate in December 2016, but Gov. John Kasich vetoed it, arguing it would not survive a court challenge. He instead signed a law protecting the unborn from abortions after 20 weeks’ gestation. The heartbeat bill this time cleared the House by a vote of 60-35. A total of 60 votes in the House and 20 votes in the Senate are needed to override the governor’s veto.

Kasich said he would veto the bill again should it pass the state Senate. And if the state legislature doesn’t garner the necessary votes to override him, lawmakers will have to wait until the next session to take another crack at it. But that will be after Republican Gov.-elect Mike DeWine takes office, who has said he would sign such a bill.

Similar heartbeat bills have passed in North Dakota and Arkansas, but federal courts ruled them unconstitutional. In 2015, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to review a lower court’s decision to block North Dakota’s heartbeat bill.

Iowa is the only state with a current heartbeat abortion protection law, which is facing a court challenge from Planned Parenthood and the American Civil Liberties Union. A county judge temporarily blocked the law from taking effect until the suit is settled.

Ohio Right to Life said it was neutral on the heartbeat bill. In 2016, the organization lobbied instead for protection against abortion at 20 weeks, expressing concerns that a heartbeat bill would not hold up in court. The 20-week marker is based on when an unborn baby feels pain. Similar laws have been enacted in 21 states.

YouTube/CDSS YouTube/CDSS An image from a video by the Canadian Down Syndrome Society

Critically endangered

The Canadian Down Syndrome Society launched a campaign earlier this month to recognize people with the genetic disorder as an endangered species.

The CDSS submitted an application to the International Union for Conservation of Nature, the organization that officially recognizes endangered species worldwide, for the “inclusion of people with Down syndrome as an endangered subspecies or subpopulation of Homo sapiens” on the organization’s Red List of Threatened Species.

Countries around the world are increasingly aborting children with Down syndrome before they are born. Last year, a report found nearly 100 percent of women in Iceland choose to abort if their baby tested positive for the chromosomal disorder. The CDSS letter includes statistics from other countries, including Australia, China, Denmark, England, the Netherlands, Taiwan, and the United States, where the use of noninvasive prenatal testing and abortion means fewer individuals are born every year with Down syndrome.

A number of U.S. states have tried to pass laws making it harder to abort babies diagnosed with disabilities, but a federal judge earlier this year ruled an Indiana measure was unconstitutional.

Critics of the campaign have argued comparing people with Down syndrome to animals is dehumanizing. “It doesn’t matter who are you … I don’t like people comparing me as an animal, it’s not fair,” Francie Munoz, a woman with Down syndrome, told CBC Toronto. But the CDSS has stood its ground.

“We are not, for even one moment, suggesting that people with Down syndrome are anything other than human,” CDSS wrote on Twitter in response to the criticism. “We’re communicating that just as many support endangered animals, this community needs attention and support, too.”

The CDSS campaign notes animal welfare organizations have 90 percent more resources and funding than Down syndrome organizations in North America.

“When you think about animals on [the endangered] list, we spend a lot of energy and time protecting and making sure those animals are able to thrive, and we want that for the Down syndrome community,” Ben Tarr, a CDSS board member and father of a son with the syndrome, told CBC Toronto. “We want to make sure that our community can thrive in life.” —Kiley Crossland

Associated Press/Photos by Andrew Harnik Associated Press/Photos by Andrew Harnik Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin

Kentucky abortion law on trial

Pro-life advocates are defending the constitutionality of a Kentucky law protecting live babies from dismemberment abortion in court. The American Civil Liberties Union filed suit against the law in April shortly after Gov. Matt Bevin, a Republican, signed it earlier this year. Normally, the government’s top lawyer would defend the law in court, but Kentucky’s Democratic attorney general, Andy Beshear, refused to do so. Bevin called on lawyers from the governor’s office and the state Cabinet for Health and Family Services to argue on the law’s behalf.

The measure does not protect unborn children from all dismemberment abortions, in which babies are torn limb from limb and removed from the womb, but only those performed on living children at or after 11 weeks’ gestation except in cases of medical emergency. The law would require abortionists to ensure the baby is already dead in the womb before dismembering him or her, usually by injecting it with a lethal drug such as digoxin.

The trial began last Tuesday and is expected to conclude Monday or Tuesday of this week. U.S. District Judge Joseph McKinley will rule at a later date. —Lynde Langdon

Read more Vitals Sign up for the Vitals email
Harvest Prude

Harvest is a reporter for WORLD based in Washington, D.C.

Read more from this writer


You must be a WORLD Member and logged in to the website to comment.
  • Buddy's picture
    Posted: Tue, 11/20/2018 10:31 am

    With over 80% of US abortions on unwed women their desire to fornicate is a powerful, porn like motivation that overpowers their normal mother, child loving relationship. So what does the Bible say about fornication? Who in our society is addressing this?