Columbus Dispatch, May 3, 2012 by Catherine Candisky
President Tom Niehaus says he won’t pass legislation to essentially outlaw abortion in Ohio.
House Bill 125, the so-called heartbeat bill, triggered an unprecedented split in Ohio’s anti-abortion community, which disagreed about whether it was a good legal strategy to enact legislation almost certain to be declared unconstitutional.
In a strongly worded letter to “fellow pro-life Ohioan(s),” Niehaus said the bill was flawed and slammed supporters for questioning the commitment of majority Republicans in the Senate to ending abortion.
“Unfortunately, leaders of an organization called Faith2Action have made exaggerated and inflammatory statements…their claim that we ‘lose more than a school bus full of children every day’ due to a lack of Senate action on the bill is simply false, and I will not continue to allow this organization to question the commitment of my colleagues to ending the scourge of abortion,” Niehaus
“Ohio Senate Republicans have done more in the past 16 months to advance the protection of unborn children than any previous General Assembly in state’s history.”
Niehaus referred to seven bills, including legislation banning late-term abortion, strengthening parental consent laws and prohibiting abortions in tax-funded facilities.
Supporters and opponents of the heartbeat bill agree it would likely be found unconstitutional under the current legal precedent set by the U.S. Supreme Court, triggering years of legal challenges.
“No additional unborn babies would be saved while this case is held up in court,” Niehaus said.
Led by former Ohio Right to Life legislative director Janet Folger Porter, Faith2Action has run newspaper advertisements, bombarded lawmakers with telephone calls and held numerous Statehouse rallies in the last year, urging passage of the bill.
In a press release earlier this week, Porter promised, “If they don’t like today’s ad, wait until they see what’s running next week. Either they follow through on their campaign promises to end abortion or everyone in their district and the state will know about it.”
“It’s time for Senate leadership to quit hiding behind empty excuses and bring the fully protective Heartbeat Bill to a floor vote or admit the pro-life platforms they ran on were a charade.”
The House approved the legislation last year. After several hearings in the Senate, Niehaus asked anti-abortion forces to come together and work out a compromise, but that has not happened.