September 2016 – The following legislative update was provided to Cleveland Right to Life and Right to Life of Greater Cincinnati by our Legislative Consultant, Barry Sheets – state and federal information of interest to the pro-life movement:
Ohio Legislators’ Resignations
The Ohio Assembly is still on break before the November general elections. There have been a number of resignations of sitting members of the Republican caucus among those members whose terms are reaching their Constitutional limits during this cycle.
Already, a special session has been held to seat two new legislators: Derek Merrin of Waterville, and Theresa Charters-Gavarone of Bowling Green. Two more resignations will open the door for projected general election winning candidates Candice Keller, a pregnancy-care center director from Middletown, and Wes Goodman, former aide to Congressman Jim Jordan, to be seated to fulfill the final two months of the current session. This is a positive development for pro-life Ohioans.
Ohio Assisted Suicide & MOLST Concerns
Information has come to light that pro-abortion state Senator Charleta Tavares (D-Columbus) plans on introducing so-called “Death with Dignity” legislation sometime either during the lame duck session this year or early in 2017. A coalition of 36 pro-life leaders, including Cleveland RTL, Cincinnati RTL, and Toledo RTL had previously warned legislators that this pro-assisted-suicide legislation would be showing up, especially with the push to implement SB 165, the MOLST bill (which pro-life leaders opposing it call the “Medical Orders for Life STOPPING Treatment”). Efforts will be continued to stop MOLST, and to block the ability for the “DWD” bill to move forward.
Federal “Continuing Resolution” Still Funds Planned Parenthood
Congressional leadership has failed (once again) to stop money from flowing to abortion providers, this time actually passing legislation providing more funding for a Planned Parenthood affiliate. The US Senate passed a continuing resolution (CR) to fund government operations through December 31st of this year, and the House concurred. The problem is that neither chamber’s Republican leadership attempted to block riders on this legislation which allows the flow of a portion of over $1.4 billion in funding earmarked to fight the Zika virus outbreaks to go directly to a Planned Parenthood affiliate in Puerto Rico.
Congressional Pro-Life Legislation Stalled
There have been 84 bills introduced in Congress since the beginning of the session in 2015 that are geared to either stop abortions, end funding to abortion providers, or otherwise block certain procedures and practices within the abortion industry. However, the vast majority of these bills have not been passed by Congress. Some, including important legislation like Senator Rand Paul’s Life at Conception Act, have been reported from committees but have languished for months waiting to be marked for floor action, which will likely not happen during the remainder of this session of Congress.
This is a major failure of Congressional leadership, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, House Speaker (former) John Boehner, and (current) Paul Ryan, who could utilize provisions such as the aforementioned CR to make major headway in promoting a culture of life, and putting anti-life legislators on record so pro-life grassroots can focus on helping them find new lines of work.