RIGHT TO LIFE ACTION COALITION OF OHIO
Barry Sheets, Legislative Consultant
March 8, 2019
BRINGING AMERICA BACK TO LIFE CONVENTION 2019!!
Right to Life Action Coalition Members have gathered and are attending the Convention this weekend. Barry Sheets reports from Cleveland!
NEWS AND VIEWS
1. The Senate Heartbeat bill (Senate Bill 23) was given its fourth hearing this week. Dozens of pro-life supporters testified, including yours truly. The hearing went for nearly four hours. The Senate Health Committee chairman (Senator Dave Burke) indicated that the next hearing (next week) will be without testimony. There will be deliberation on amendments, a potential substitute bill, and a committee vote scheduled. Depending on when the committee convenes, the bill could potentially be sent to the full Senate for a vote on that day or the following day.
2. It was interesting to note that in the State of the State speech given by Governor Mike DeWine on Tuesday, his first, though not direct mention of the Heartbeat Bill occurred. Instead, Governor DeWine painted with a broad brush in neon colors with his comment stating his administration’s position as “fierce and passionate defenders of life..from the earliest point of life.” With most anticipating no issues and a quick signature from Governor DeWine on the Heartbeat bill (perhaps by early May, given the timeline in #1 above), his descriptor creates much optimism that other pro-life initiatives in the works might receive positive reception from this Governor.
3. The Ohio Department of Health has submitted a group of proposed rules to the Joint Committee on Agency Rule Review (JCARR) around the Do Not Resuscitate orders current under Ohio law. RTLACO has a team of medical professionals looking over these proposals. As we have fought against the implementation of the Medical Orders for Life Sustaining Treatment (MOLST) legislation, we are trying to make sure that it is not being implemented this way; or, as Scripture states “framing mischief by a rule.”
4. Pro-life advocates and legislators should keep an eye on a recent development in Alabama. The state, where the status of the unborn as a person is in place, is now the epicenter of a lawsuit that can change the landscape and debate on life in a significant way. Ryan Magers, the teenage father of “Baby Roe” an unborn child aborted in 2017 by the baby’s teenage mother, is suing the Alabama Women’s Center for Reproductive Alternatives on behalf of the baby for unlawful termination against his (the father’s) wishes. Probate Judge Frank Barger of Madison County Alabama has allowed the unborn child to be named as a co-plaintiff in the case.
5. Democrat Senator Tina Maharath has introduced this week a group of bills that are part of the “wish list” of the Planned Parenthood/NARAL policy priorities, evidenced by multiple witnesses in opposition to the Heartbeat bill referencing these policies as those they are seeking. RTLACO will be reviewing these bills and reporting on their potential impact soon.
Ohio Department of Health Director Dr. Amy Acton
Acton, 53, married and a mother of six adult children, will lead the 1,100 person Department of Health. Acton earned a medical degree from the Northeastern Ohio University College of Medicine (NEOUCOM) and internships and residency at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York and at Nationwide Children’s Hospital. She most recently has been a community researcher and grants manager at the Columbus Foundation. It has been noted that she “will follow the law” regarding life issues, and “has no stance on abortion.”
Senator Tina Maharath (D)
A Laotian immigrant hailing from Whitehall (a Columbus suburb) Tina Maharath of the 3rd Senate district is a true freshman legislator without prior policy experience. Maharath defeated a sitting state representative for the Senate seat in November upon recount of ballots, after having held off a challenge in the primary created by the Democratic Party, who did not support Maharath’s bid for office. She is a member of the Senate Health Committee, where her questions to proponents of the Heartbeat bill indicate she may vote pro-abortion.
Representative Jon Cross (R)
The freshman from Kenton in the 83rd District’s Hardin County fills the seat vacated by now-Treasurer Robert Sprague. The president of the Hardin County Chamber of Commerce, Cross held off a primary challenge in order to win the seat. A member of St. Michael the Archangel Parish, Cross was an early co-sponsor of the House Heartbeat bill, and was endorsed by RTLACO for his seat.
Representative Jeffrey Crossman (D)
A first-term member from Parma in the 15th House district, Crossman is an attorney by practice and was a member of Parma City Council prior to coming to the Statehouse. He was chosen by the Cuyahoga County Democratic Party to replace incumbent Nicholas Celebreeze, who withdrew from the race in the summer of 2018. He has not cast votes on life legislation to this point.
Representative Robert Cupp (R)
A veteran of both the legislature (former Senate President Pro Tempore) and the Ohio Supreme Court, Cupp, from Lima, is serving his second cycle as a representative for the people of Allen County in the 4th House District. An attorney, Cupp is a recognized expert on school funding issues and chairs the House Finance Committee Subcommittee on Primary and Secondary Education. He is a co-sponsor of the Heartbeat bill, and has voted consistently for pro-life issues during his service.