COLUMBUS, Ohio, December 6, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) — After years of political maneuvering, vote avoidance, and pro-life division, the Ohio Senate passed a bill that will ban abortions once the baby's heartbeat is detected.
The “Heartbeat Bill” hasn’t moved since it was passed in the Ohio House in 2015 after years of delay. If signed into law, the measure would stop the abortion of children whose heartbeat can be detected, which is at about eight weeks' gestation.
The bill was added to House Bill 493, which addresses child abuse reporting. It passed by a 21-10 margin during the senate's lame-duck session.
The Ohio House must agree to amendments and specific language, and then the bill goes to Governor John Kasich’s desk.
Janet Folger Porter wrote, promoted, and campaigned relentlessly for the Ohio Heartbeat Bill, which has inspired identical bills in Indiana, Alabama, North Dakota, and Arkansas. In 2003, Porter founded Faith2Action, an activist organization championing natural marriage, the family, and the sanctity of innocent human life.
Porter had called out numerous Ohio state senators for keeping the Heartbeat Bill from getting to a vote. Governor Kasich and Ohio legislators, including state Sen. Keith Faber and Majority Whip Larry Obhof, opposed the bill, despite claiming to be pro-life, because they said they feared that it would not survive a U.S. Supreme Court challenge.
Kasich's and Faber's opposition to the pro-life bill prompted citizens to dub the governor “a Pro-life Pretender.” Porter, once a spokesperson for Gov. Kasich, split with Kasich over the “Heartbeat Bill.”
“You can't block a bill like this and call yourself pro-life,” Porter told LifeSiteNews. She ran an unsuccessful campaign for the state senate after many self-described “pro-life” Republicans refused to bring the Heartbeat Bill to a vote. “These obstructionists are getting away with murder – literally – and we can't let them go unopposed,” she said.
The Heartbeat Bill divided pro-lifers across Ohio because some thought it will lead to a possible Supreme Court reaffirmation of Roe v Wade. Ohio Right to Life president Mike Gonidakis told Kaiser Health News that he opposes the pro-life “Heartbeat Bill.” “We believe in an incremental approach to both the legislative side as well as the changing of hearts and minds,” he said.
In the 1990s, Porter circulated the discharge petition to pass the nation's first ban on Partial-Birth Abortion.