by Steven Ertelt
June 13, 2006
Columbus, OH (LifeNews.com) — A bill to ban all abortions in the state of Ohio received a legislative committee hearing on Tuesday, but it likely won’t advance any further. Abortion supporters and opponents spent hours telling lawmakers why they should favor or oppose the abortion ban but the measure will probably not be voted on this year.
Rep. Tom Brinkman, a Republican from Cincinnati introduced the bill, which he said would be used as a tool to help overturn Roe v. Wade.
"Our country is full of bad Supreme Court decisions. Roe was and is a bad Supreme Court decision," he said.
But Rep. John White, a Republican and chairman of the House Health Committee, which held the hearing, said he didn’t think there was enough support in the committee for the bill.
White said the biggest problem with advancing the legislation is that it prohibits all abortions — including those to save the life of the mother in race cases or in rape or incest situations. He told the Columbus Dispatch newspaper that several pro-life lawmakers would oppose it for that reason alone.
"There are various degrees of pro-lifers," said White, who wants a life of the mother exception, explained. "Some have rape and incest exceptions, some don’t. This is a pretty cut-and-dried piece of legislation, and I lose pro-life legislators if we have no exceptions."
During the hearing, more than 200 people jammed the panel’s hearing room.
Dr. Jack Willke of Cincinnati, one of the founders of the modern pro-life movement, spoke in favor of the bill saying life begins at conception.
"You were just a bud, if you please, who became a flower," he said.
Abortion advocates held a pre-hearing rally at the state capitol, but only two dozen people showed up, according to the Cincinnati Enquirer. They handed out stickers reading, "Birth control, not bans."
At the hearing, representatives of Planned Parenthood, the ACLU and Ohio NARAL spokes against the measure.
The measure also likely won’t advance further because it doesn’t have the support of the state’s leading pro-life group, Ohio Right to Life.
Denise Mackura, a longtime pro-life attorney who is the group’s director, points out that the measure has language which would take current pro-life laws limiting abortions off the books. Those provisions, such as parental involvement statues or laws requiring women to get information about abortion’s risks and alternatives, would not be able to be enforced during a court challenge.
Secretary of State Kenneth Blackwell, who is pro-life, says he supports an abortion ban but he agrees with Ohio Right to Life’s concerns and wouldn’t sign the bill unless it was changed to correct that problem.
Mackura also said her group favors an abortion ban similar to the one Louisiana lawmakers recently approved. She said the high court is still 5-4 in favor of abortion, at best.
That measure is different from the new South Dakota abortion ban because it goes into effect only when the Supreme Court reverses Roe v. Wade.
Though some say the bill has little chance of passage, Kellie Copeland, the director of NARAL Ohio, worries lawmakers will return for their lame duck session in November or December and try to approve the bill.
She told the newspaper the chances are higher if pro-abortion Democrat Ted Strickland wins the November gubernatorial election.