Jeremy Kryn


Perry throws weight behind ‘nation’s most radical’ pro-life bill

Jeremy Kryn

AUSTIN, TX, September 9, 2011 ( – Texas Governor Rick Perry has come out in support of an Ohio measure to ban abortion from the moment of a detectable fetal heartbeat. The 2012 presidential contender announced his support before a group of 250 pro-life and pro-family leaders meeting in Texas.

“We’re grateful to Governor Perry for his strong support of the Heartbeat Bill,” said Janet Porter, president of Faith2Action. “I don’t think there’s a bill in America with more support.”

Perry joins fellow Republican presidential hopefuls Congresswoman Michelle Bachmann and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich in support of the “Heartbeat Bill.”

Republican Ohio State Representative Lynn Wachtmann, chairman of the House Health Committee, has sponsored the bill. He said it was fitting that the state with the nickname “the Heart of It All” should lead the way to “protect our fellow human beings with beating hearts.”

Wachtmann’s Heartbeat Bill had 50 co-sponsors, half the Ohio House of Representatives, when he formally introduced the measure on February 24. The Ohio House passed the bill 54-43 in June. Its next stop is the state Senate, which is controlled by Republicans.

While it has the vocal support of Dr. Jack Willke, regarded as one of the fathers of the pro-life movement in the US and the founder of Ohio Right to Life, the bill does not have the support of the current leadership of Ohio Right to Life for tactical reasons and doubts over its overall chances for success. Michael Gonidakis, Ohio Right to Life’s executive director, has explained to media outlets that their concern is that the bill would ultimately not survive a court challenge, and thus not end up saving unborn lives.

Republican Ohio House Speaker William Batchelder openly acknowledged that the law would almost certainly be challenged.

“We’re writing bills for courts,” he said, according to Reuters.

Pro-life supporters of the bill say they believe that a legal battle would be decided in their favor. According to Faith2Action’s Katelyn Evans, the 2007 Supreme Court decision that upheld the partial birth abortion ban act, Gonzales v. Carhart, would play a crucial role in a pro-life victory should the legislation be challenged in court.

In Carhart, the Court accepted as a “finding of fact” from a lower court decision that an unborn child is a “living fetus” based on its detectable heartbeat.

According to embryologists, the heart begins to beat around 18-24 days after conception. The earliest first trimester abortions generally begin at 4 weeks into pregnancy (dated from the last menstrual period).

Lawmakers in Georgia and Texas are studying the Ohio bill with the intention of introducing their own versions in their respective state legislatures.

On September 20, Dr. Willke will speak at a rally in support of the bill in the Atrium of the Ohio Statehouse in Columbus.

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