There has been a debate stirring in the state of Ohio. In June of this year, the Ohio State House passed a pro-life bill which would ban abortions once an unborn child’s heart has begun to beat. Amazing, right? Well, Ohio Right to Life has taken a stand against it. How could that possibly be?
Actually, I can see both sides of the argument. I tend to lean towards the side that is promoting the bill. I’m certainly not a legal expert, but I think it is necessary to always be pushing the courts to reverse abortion on demand altogether. The only way this can be done is to have the states keep passing regulations which restrict abortions within their borders.
Ohio Right to Life is certainly against any type of abortion, period. Their issue is not that they disagree with the legislation; I’m sure they would be thrilled if they thought the law could stand. Their fear, however, is that this bill is taking things too far too soon. A second pro-life bill that also passed this session is one which bans all abortions past the point where the baby can live outside the womb, or around 22 weeks (in most cases.) Many states have passed this type of law, and it has only recently been challenged by a woman in Idaho (however, I have not heard that the courts have actually done anything with this.)
Ohio Right to Life is concerned that the courts will consider the “Heartbeat Law” too extreme and passage will give judges an excuse to repeal other pro-life laws in their state, including informed consent. In addition, they are worried that the bill may go all the way to the Supreme Court, only to be used to solidify Roe vs. Wade instead of weakening it. They consulted some legal experts who confirmed that this law could create additional legal problems for a total ban on abortion.
I guess I don’t understand how this could happen. South Dakota has passed some pretty radical bills outlawing abortion which have been quickly enjoined in court battles, but have never done any damage to other legislation. At least I am not aware that it has. The state still has some pretty awesome laws firmly in place.
Even if the “Heartbeat Law” is pretty radical, I think it serves several purposes even if it does get struck down (which it will, barring a miracle.) Publicity surrounding the bill has educated many people to the fact that a baby’s heart starts beating at 22 days past conception. It is amazing how many people have no idea that this is true. In our office, women are constantly amazed to see the heart beating away in their very tiny unborn child (in fact, sometimes that is all we see is just that little flicker!) Such education is necessary to counteract the lies which have been spread by the pro-abortion forces.
Plus, laws, such as banning partial birth abortions, are only in place because some states had the courage to pass them when people said there was no hope of them being upheld. Several attempts were made and defeated before the law was finally upheld by the Supreme Court. In order for Roe vs. Wade to be overturned, state laws challenging abortion must first be passed. Who knows which one will finally turn the tide?
So, what do you think? Is the “Heartbeat Law” too much too soon? Should pro-life forces focus on one battle at a time, perhaps gaining a ban on late-term abortions before moving to the next stage? Will other laws be placed in jeopardy by laws which go too far? Only time will tell if that is true or not.
Oh, one other side note which I found disturbingly interesting. Cathy Levy, who is director of the Ohio Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice, spoke up against the new laws (no surprise there!) She gave the same old tired line that these laws would send women back to the back-alleys for abortions (a claim which has always been greatly exaggerated!) She states: “Is the coat hanger what God would want for a beloved daughter?” No, Cathy, it’s not. But neither does He want his daughters to kill their children, because they are His sons and daughters too!
The “Heartbeat Law’ is supposed to go to the Ohio Senate soon where the Republican majority has a good chance of passing it. I will keep you posted on the story as it develops. Please pray that no matter what happens that fewer babies will end up dying in the state of Ohio!
Keeping it true! Barb