Ward: Abortion DayWritten by Lisa Renee Ward | | email@example.com
On June 28, a friend wrote on his Facebook page, “A little embarrassed to be from Ohio this afternoon.” While another friend assumed it was about “the tattoo parlor dude,” I knew exactly what he was referencing: “Abortion Day Tuesday” as it was titled on The Columbus Dispatch’s Daily Briefing Blog. HB 125, also known as the “Heartbeat Bill,” and two other bills restricting abortion were passed by the Ohio House of Representatives.
HB 125, if passed by the Ohio Senate, would give Ohio the most restrictive abortion laws in the nation. If a fetal heartbeat is detected, which can happen as early as five-and-a-half weeks, no abortion will be allowed.
Ohio Department of Health’s 2009 report on “Induced Abortions in Ohio” cited 28,721 abortions were performed in Ohio in 2009. The majority of abortions — 16,264 — were performed at less than nine weeks gestational age. Between nine and 12 weeks, 7,791 abortions were performed; 3,597 abortions were performed between 13 to 19 weeks of gestational age; and 613 abortions, were performed at 20 weeks or later (456 abortions were not categorized).
Rep. Kathleen Clyde (D) of Kent said on the floor of the House that this bill was “draconian,” and that June 28 was the worst day in her history as a member of the House.
“No exception for rape, no exception in the case of incest — this bill criminalizes doctors for giving health care to women,” Clyde said.
Youngstown Rep. Robert Hagan (D) said he was shocked.
“Whose morality should we chose today? Shall it be the Catholics, the Presbyterians or the Jews, or should it be some of the Muslims in eastern countries who require women walk behind their men?” he said. “Let’s circumcise those women because pleasure is not part of that type of morality.”
Napoleon Rep. Lynn Wachtmann (R) said he ran for office to protect the unborn.
“Without life, nothing else matters,” Watchtmann said. Several Republican House members stated their primary purpose and concern of their constituents was ending abortion.
There were 54 “yeas” including Rep. Barbara Sears (R) and Rep. Randy Gardner (R). The 44 “nays” included Rep. Michael Ashford (D), Rep. Teresa Fedor (D) and Rep. Matt Szollosi (D).
HB 125 now moves on to the Ohio Senate. Ohio Right to Life did not support the heartbeat bill. Executive Director Mike Gonidakis said in March, “The heartbeat bill will not save any babies’ lives because it will not be upheld in court. The court has said there can be no bans on pre-viability abortions.”
Ohio Right to Life did support the two other abortion-related bills that were voted June 28, HB 78 and HB 79.
HB 78 prohibits a physician, except in the case of a medical emergency, from performing or inducing or attempting to perform or induce an abortion on a pregnant woman after the beginning of the 20th week of gestation unless in the physician’s good faith medical judgment, the unborn child is not viable.
This bill received 65 “yeas,” locally from Gardner, Sears and Szollosi, with 33 “nays,” locally from Ashford and Fedor.
Prohibiting qualified health plans from providing coverage for certain abortions was the reason cited for HB 79. Though the fiscal analysis from the Legislative Services Commission said. “Existing law already prohibits the use of state funds for a nontherapeutic abortion.”
“Half of all unplanned pregnancies end in abortion. Prevention will help us reach that goal of ultimately ending abortion,” Fedor said. “Ohio has the 25th highest teen pregnancy rate in the U.S. Contraception and sex education prevent abortion; 85 percent who don’t use oral contraception become pregnant,” Fedor said.
A majority of states require birth control coverage if prescription coverage exists, she said.
“Ohio is not one of those states. An insurance company can cover Viagra but refuse to cover prescriptions for birth control,” she added.
HB 79 received 62 “yeas,” locally from Gardner, Szollosi and Sears, with 36 “nays,” locally from Ashford and Fedor. It also goes to the Ohio Senate.
As another friend commented on Facebook, “Elections have consequences. Maybe we will start understanding that.”
Maybe we will.
Toledo Free Press Web Editor Lisa Renee Ward operates the political blog GlassCityJungle.com.