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Ohio Governor John Kasich vetoed the Heartbeat Bill, which would have prevented abortion once the unborn childs heartbeat can be detected in the womb. Juli Hansen / Shutterstock.com
Brad Mattes

Opinion

Gov. Kasich’s veto guarantees more unborn babies’ heartbeats will stop

Brad Mattes

December 15, 2016 (Life Issues Institute) -- Ohio Governor John Kasich vetoed the Heartbeat Bill, which would have prevented abortion once the unborn child’s heartbeat can be detected in the womb.

Some pro-lifers in Ohio have given the Governor’s veto a pass. Not everyone agrees.

Governor Kasich has long touted his pro-life credentials — and still does, even in the face of vetoing major pro-life legislation that could potentially have saved the lives of tens of thousands of Ohio’s unborn babies. Life Issues Institute opposes this veto and is saddened to see our state’s leading executive engage his veto pen to stop life-saving legislation in its tracks.

Governor Kasich has been given political cover by one notable pro-life organization. A released statement reads, “Ohio Right to Life supports Governor Kasich’s decision . . .” They and the governor cited court uncertainties and related costs. Specifically, Ohio RTL pointed out the US Supreme Court has declined to review two lower court rulings against similar Heartbeat Bills. Further, the group cited legal opinion that a third unsuccessful court challenge “would cause irreparable harm to the pro-life movement.”

The group has thrown all of its support behind a 20-week abortion ban, which they believe is the only judicially viable option between the two.

Obviously, the Heartbeat Bill faces an uncertain future in our nation’s court system. Literally any pro-life legislation does. Pro-abortion activists seldom if ever allow a pro-life bill to become law unmolested.

What Ohio’s critics of the Heartbeat Bill conveniently decline to mention is that the 20-week ban signed by Governor Kasich has faced very similar hurdles in the nation’s court system.

The 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals struck down similar 20-week bills in both Idaho and Arizona and the US Supreme Court declined to review the AZ case. It’s uncertain why Ohio RTL believes a third unsuccessful challenge of this type of bill would not cause “irreparable harm” to the movement.

Life Issues Institute believes both pieces of legislation should be robustly pursued and defended in court.

We have good reason to believe that the makeup of the US Supreme Court and appellate courts are about to change. That was a major motivation of voters in electing Donald Trump. It’s not unfathomable to think that in the time it would’ve taken to get the Heartbeat Bill before the Supreme Court we may have a pro-life majority.

It’s troubling to us that Governor Kasich also cited the legal costs of defending the legislation. How can an elected official, who in his own words works “to strengthen Ohio’s protections for the sanctity of human life,” put a price tag on their lives? Ohio’s unborn children are worthy of the cost of lawyers if there’s the slightest chance we can prevent them from being brutally torn limb-from-limb in the womb. We should not accept any less of an effort to defend our most vulnerable citizens.

Even if the abortion industry had eventually prevailed in the courts, the educational value of the Heartbeat Bill would’ve been immense and invaluable. During the decade it took to get the Partial-Birth abortion ban passed, Americans’ eyes were opened to the ugly reality of late-term abortion. We picked up ten percentage points in public opinion on abortion, which was instrumental in giving the pro-life movement the momentum that continues to this day.

Back then, the naysayers told us to give up because President Clinton would veto the bill anyway. We fought past two presidential vetoes and a previous adversarial ruling by the US Supreme Court.

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We ignored all the bad advice and persevered — just as we should with the Heartbeat Bill.

Imagine the conversations the Heartbeat Bill could have generated around dinner tables, in office break rooms and through daily interactions with neighbors and church members. Eyes and hearts could’ve been opened to the reality of fetal development early in pregnancy. It would have been a dramatic revelation to most Americans that the heart begins to beat much earlier than they ever imagined.

That conversation — at least in Ohio — has been abruptly cut off by “one of our own.”

Can you imagine pro-abortion activists accepting the same excuses if a governor whom they helped elect to office were to veto major pro-abortion legislation? I can’t either.

There’s an urgency to our pro-life work because every day nearly 3,000 more babies nationwide are killed by abortion. Therefore, we should do everything within our power to end the carnage.

One of the saddest things of all was that Ohio’s unborn babies were sent to the back of the bus with the blessing of some of those who have vowed to protect them.

Reprinted with permission from Life Issues Institute.

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