Friday 5

December 11, 2020

Barry Sheets
Legislative Consultant

 It’s been a good news-bad news kind of week.
The good news is pro-life legislation is moving now in the legislature. The bad news is the legislature has all but shut down (at least in the House, where the bulk of the pro-life legislation sits) in the middle of the week due to at least four members finding they had acquired the SARS-CoV-19 virus. Sessions have been canceled, and as of this writing, it is unclear whether committees or session will resume next week. As the Assembly must end on December 31st, it creates a very narrow window in which to get things done. 


NEWS AND VIEWS

1. Senate Bill 27, the bill to ensure the Humane and proper Disposition of the Remains of an Unborn Baby killed by abortion, was concurred upon by the Ohio Senate on Wednesday by a straight party-line vote of 23-7. In debate, pro-abort Senator Nickie Antonio (D-Lakewood), perhaps inadvertently, made a major admission. She said “as the bill was amended, it takes human tissue smaller than a grain of sand and requires women to go through an agonizing process to make a determination about burial”. That’s right: human tissue. This is a step in the right direction: although not admitting the personhood (and separate DNA) of the unborn child, admitting that it is human is a crack in the foundation of abortion as legal. Senate Bill 27 now goes to Governor DeWine for his expected signature.

2.  The House Health Committee opened the door for another piece of pro-life legislation this week. Senate Bill 260, sponsored by Senator Dr. Stephen Huffman, requires a physician be present upon the administration of chemicals used to induce a medical abortion. This “telemed abortion ban” is in response to the explosive growth in telemedicine services being used to facilitate medical abortions. Margie Christie and I testified in support of SB 260, which was marked for an “all testimony” first hearing, an indication that the bill is moving rapidly (now).  Please pray, as we are working to ensure this and other key pro-life provisions are passed by this Assembly.

3. Somewhat surprisingly, the Ohio Senate declined to take up the veto override vote on Senate Bill 311, the measure to bring more checks and balances to bear on the seemingly-unlimited authority of the Ohio Department of Health to force compliance of “emergency” health orders. Senate President Larry Obhof was quoted last week as saying they may want to seek an alternative to overriding Governor DeWine in some way. You might want to call your Representative and Senator and politely ask them to vote to override the veto ASAP!

4. Emboldened by the (still not certain) prospect of grabbing the reins of power in January, some members of Congress are wasting no time in ramping up the rhetoric toward pushing abortion on demand forward. Rep. Rosa DeLauro, (D) Connecticut, the upcoming chair of the House Appropriations Committee, commented on her intent to eliminate the Hyde Amendment, which prohibits public funding of abortion. One of DeLauro’s invited panelists claimed that the Hyde Amendment is “racist” as it keeps black women from being able to abort their babies! Hmmm...wanting people of color not to have families...isn’t that… “racist”?

5.  True to form, the termites are burrowing into the woodwork. This time, it’s the American Atheists and the group Americans United for the Separation of Church and State, who are attacking a Trump administration guideline from the Department of Labor. The DOL’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance issued a ruling regarding religious accommodation to allow the full and equal participation of religious organizations in federal contracting. This means if a religious organization happens to secure a federal contract to provide services, it does not mean they give up their ability to hire based upon their religious convictions. The American Atheists are beating the drum, and are vowing to work with the “incoming” Biden administration to eradicate this First Amendment protection for religious organizations.

PROFILE

Each installment of the Friday Five will bring thumbnail profiles of key

policymakers and committees.

United States District Court for the Northern District of Ohio—Judge Donald C. Nugent. Judge Nugent, born in Minneapolis, Minnesota, received his Bachelor of Arts from Xavier University in Cincinnati in 1970. After serving a year in the U.S. Marine Corps, he obtained a Juris Doctor from the Cleveland Marshall College of Law in 1974. He later added a Master of Judicial Studies from the University of Nevada, Reno’s National Judicial College in 1994. Judge Nugent, after obtaining his law degree, went into private practice in Cleveland. He also served as an assistant prosecuting attorney before rising to the Common Pleas bench in Cuyahoga County in 1985, where he served before joining the Eighth District Ohio Court of Appeals from 1993-1995.

In 1995, Judge Nugent was nominated by then-President William Clinton to the Northern District seat in April of 1995. He was confirmed by the Senate and began serving on the bench in June of 1995. He assumed senior status in 2017. Nugent had some controversy erupt over his handling of a lawsuit against the state regarding the prohibition on doctors receiving Medicaid funds from being able to make campaign contributions to candidates running for either Attorney General or county prosecutors. Nugent was removed from the case by the Sixth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for showing a “distinct hostility” toward the plaintiffs. 

Right to Life of Greater Cincinnati is a proud member organization of the 

Right to Life Action Coalition of Ohio.