Cleveland Right to Life is a founding member of Right to Life Action Coalition of Ohio
Friday  5

Barry Sheets
Legislative Consultant
February 22, 2020
1. Life at Conception-the Ohio House is recessing for the primary election break and won't likely be back until the week of March 16 th (the Presidential Primary is March 17 th). We hope you are planning to Vote!. The Life at Conception Act, HB 413, did not get a hearing scheduled before the House Criminal Justice Committee yet. Please remember to call your representative, and members of the committee, to respectfully ask they put HB 413 on the agenda for full hearings. You can find your House members contact information  here.
2. Margie Christie, President of Right to Life Action Coalition of Ohio and Executive Director of Dayton Right to Life and I  testified  (see our testimony on video archive  here, beginning at the 1:51:10 mark) this week at the Senate Health, Human Services and Medicaid Committee hearing in support of Senator Stephen Huffman's Senate Bill 260. SB 260 Bans the Use of Tele-Medicine Conferencing for the Performance of a Chemical Abortion. SB 260 is scheduled for a third hearing and possible vote on Wednesday, February 26 th.
3. The legislation to prohibit medical providers in Ohio from engaging in transgender conversion therapy and surgical procedures on minor children I wrote about last week, has now been introduced. It is  House Bill 513, and will likely be assigned to committee shortly. It is anticipated that the bill, with criminal penalties as part of the language, would be assigned to the House Criminal Justice Committee. Will Chairman Rep. George Lang give this bill hearings, or will it be delayed from having a full consideration by this committee as currently the Life at Conception bill is being held up?
4. From the "who could have seen this coming?" A new  report from the Institute for Research and Evaluation, conducting a global review of studies on comprehensive (condom-based) sex education programs, found "little evidence that [comprehensive sex education] programs are effective at producing positive impact on their participants" and questioned the efficacy of school-based comprehensive sex education. Approximately 1 in 6 of the programs (they reviewed 79 of them), actually produced harmful effects on children taking the programs. Hmmm...treating children with a philosophy of "they are going to do it anyway, so we better show them how and give them products to do it with" is not turning out so well. 
5. The Trump Administration is doing it again! No, not more incendiary tweets: The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced it is  creating an Advisory Panel to investigate the usage of the body parts of aborted babies in research. The National Institutes of Health Human Fetal Tissue Research Ethics Advisory Board has been established and is comprised of 15 non-government employees that include attorneys, theologians, doctors, scientists, and ethicists. The board is being chaired by Alex Azar, Secretary of Health and Human Services Department. This comes after last year when funding was pulled by HHS from a university for their involvement in using baby parts in research.
Each installment of the Friday Five will bring thumbnail profiles of key policymakers and committees. 
United States Court of Appeals, Sixth Circuit: Judge Bernice Bouie Donald-Born in Mississippi, Judge Donald earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Memphis State University in 1974 and a Juris Doctor (JD) from Memphis State University School of Law in 1979. She was in private practice and worked as an assistant public defender in Memphis, Tennessee from 1979 to 1982. Donald was a Judge on Tennessee's General Sessions Criminal Court from 1982 to 1988, also teaching as an adjunct professor at Southwest Tennessee Community College from 1984 to 1989. From 1988 to 1995, she was a United States Bankruptcy Judge in the Western District of Tennessee. On December 7, 1995, Donald was nominated by then-President Bill Clinton to a seat on the United States District Court for the Western District of Tennessee. She was confirmed by the United States Senate and was seated on December 26, 1995. On December 1, 2010, President Barack Obama nominated Donald for a judgeship on the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. The full Senate confirmed Donald to the Sixth Circuit on September 6, 2011, in a 96-2 vote. She received her commission on September 8, 2011. Donald has been the opinion writer on two controversial decisions. In 2017, the U.S. Supreme Court summarily reversed the judgment of a three-judge panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit in the case  Jenkins v. Hutton. Judge Bernice Donald wrote the opinion of the panel. Convicted in state court and having exhausted his state appeals, Hutton filed for federal relief, arguing that the jury was improperly instructed by the trial judge in his state trial. The federal district court denied Hutton's claim, holding that Hutton failed to raise this claim during his state appeals and, therefore, the claim was procedurally defaulted. In an opinion written by Judge Donald, the Sixth Circuit reversed, holding that the court could reach the merits of Hutton's defaulted claim to avoid a 'fundamental miscarriage of justice'. A unanimous Supreme Court summarily reversed the Sixth Circuit's ruling in a per curiam opinion, holding that, on the facts of this case, the Sixth Circuit was wrong to rule that the court could review Hutton's claim under the miscarriage of justice exception to procedural default. Judge Donald also wrote the opinion for a three judge panel last year in a case determining that the practice of "chalking" a tire by police to enforce traffic and parking laws is an unconstitutional invasion of privacy and property rights, equivalent to placing a hidden GPS device on a car to track a suspect.  Taylor vs. City of Saginaw is likely to be reviewed by the U.S. Supreme Court.
U.S. Congress Steve Stivers (15th District)--Congressman Stivers of Franklin County, serves the very wide-ranging 15 th Congressional District.  Stivers is a former member of the Ohio General Assembly and worked as a lobbyist for the banking industry before serving in office. He sits on the following committees: House Committee on Financial Services, and is the Ranking Member on both the Housing, Community Development, and Insurance and the National Security, International Development, and Monetary Policy subcommittees, as well as sitting on the Investor Protection, Entrepreneurship, and Capital Markets subcommittee. Stivers is a center-right Republican. He receives scores of 78% from Americans for Prosperity, 55% from Freedom Works, 43% from Club for Growth, 8% from the ACLU, and 0% from both Planned Parenthood Action Fund and the Human Rights Campaign. Congressman Stivers has missed 6.7% of all votes (median is 2.2%). He has had five pieces of legislation passed successfully during his tenure in Congress: two to designate post office names, two dealing with banking issues, and one to create a National Veterans Museum. He has co-sponsored key pieces of Pro-Life legislation in the House during this session. He took office in January of 2011 and is up for re-election during the 2020 election cycle.
Ohio State Board of Education At-large: Laura Koehler-the current President of the Ohio State Board of Education is at-large member Laura Koehler of New Albany. Koehler was appointed in February 2017 by then-Governor John Kasich. She was elected president of the board in January, 2020 and will be eligible for re-appointment to the at-large seat in 2021, should current Governor Mike DeWine choose to do so. Koehler has education experience, formerly serving on the Board of Education for both the Worthington City Schools and New Albany-Plain Local Schools.  She counts volunteer service with Nationwide Children's Hospital and The Childhood League, a preschool for 3- and 4-year-olds who have special needs among her outside activities. Koehler earned an undergraduate degree from Duke University and an MBA from the University of Dayton. She was a full-time, stay-at-home mother for 20 years and considers that to be the best job she ever had. Kohler currently works as a real estate agent in New Albany. 
Ohio House Insurance Committee-the committee overseeing Ohio's Insurance industry issues is chaired by Rep. Tom Brinkman of Cincinnati. The panel has the responsibility of working on the budget for the state's Bureau of Workers' Compensation, dealing with bills relating to disability insurance, insurance products offered in Ohio, and health insurance coverage standards and limitations. Currently, the committee has two bills of interest to the Pro-Life community: HB 182, to Prohibit Insurance Coverage of Elective Abortions and HB 451, Requires Insurance Coverage of Endometriosis Claims. The panel has eight Republican members and five Democratic members and meets at 9:00 a.m. on Tuesdays.
Ohio Senate Rules and Reference Committee-this is the hub committee of the Senate, comprised of members of leadership and key committee chairs of both the Majority and Minority parties. The committee is the process engineer of the body, determining where bills will be assigned to committee upon introduction and determining which bills will be advancing to the full Senate for voting once being reported out of committee. The committee is comprised of nine Republicans and four Democrats, with Chairman Senate President Larry Obhof. The committee usually meets in the mornings of days of scheduled afternoon Senate floor sessions to set the calendar of the day and handle bill referrals.
Reminder: Slots are filling FAST for the 2020 Bringing American Back to Life Conference on March 6 th and 7 th, hosted by Cleveland Right to Life. You can register  here in order to not miss out on the amazing information, networking, fellowship and encouragement this conference brings! 
We hope to see you there! 

1. Life at Conception- House Bill 413   is still not scheduled for hearings next week. Please continue to reach out to House Criminal Justice Committee Chairman George  Lang  and respectfully request that hearings are given to this vital pro-life bill. Also, consider calling members of the committee and encourage them to have Chairman Lang give HB 413 hearings, whose contact information can be found  here .
2. The Senate Health, Human Services and Medicaid Committee has scheduled a second hearing (proponent testimony only) on  Senate Bill 260Senator Stephen Huffman's Telemed Abortion Ban legislation. SB260 requires a medical provider to be physically present with a pregnant woman when administering chemical abortion drugs to the woman.  The Committee will meet on Wednesday, February 19 th  at 2:30 p.m. in the Senate South Hearing Room . Individuals wishing to testify in support would need to submit written testimony to the  Sen. Dave Burke   chairman  no later than 24 hours prior to the committee start time.
3. Representatives Ron Hood and Bill Dean unveiled legislation this week that would prohibit medical providers in Ohio from engaging in transgender conversion therapy and surgical procedures on minor children . The bill, to be introduced next week creates both criminal penalties (first degree misdemeanor for prohibited therapy practices and third degree felony provisions for surgical interventions) and civil rights of action for those injured, with a 20 year statute of limitations to bring claims. As there have been no long-term studies conducted to support claims regarding the effectiveness of sex reassignment treatments on minors in addressing gender dysphoria mental health issues, this bill seeks to reduce the harm of such interventions on children.
4. The above bill is timely, as the medical provider community is now calling for state Children's Services agency interventions to take away children from parents who resist or refuse to let providers pull children down the path of transgender sexual dysfunction.  Writing in the Journal of the American Medical Association, as  reported  by Lifesite News, a group of academics writes  "Neglect, as a medico-legal term, can be used to initiate an evaluation by Child Protective Services and remove a parent as a child's legal guardian in the most severe instances...We conclude that situations where a parent prevents a minor from receiving treatments related to gender dysphoria violate the Harm Principle and justify state intervention."  This is all based on the presupposition that a minor child has preeminence in making such a life-altering decision. One has to wonder if these academics have ever studied brain development research, showing the logic centers (where we make rational, long-term decisions) do not fully form in a person until the age of 25? 
5.  U.S. Senator Joni Ernst (R- Iowa) must be a reader of this newsletter, as just this week she advocated for the passage of the Senate version of the Born Alive After Abortion Survivors Protection Act , a bill I referenced last week as one needing to be adopted. Ernst, chiding Democrats (especially in the Nancy Pelosi controlled House),  stated   "These are babies that are born alive, and you would think this should be an easy moral decision to save the life of a child who is outside of the womb and is alive, but we don't have that from our Democrats. They did block the bill."  Keep in prayer that common moral sense will prevail and this bill (and others like Life at Conception) will move forward to create an environment that cherishes and protects defenseless human life.
Each installment of the Friday Five will bring thumbnail profiles of
key policymakers and committees. 
United States Court of Appeals, Sixth Circuit-Judge Jeffrey S. Sutton .  Jeffrey S. Sutton is a Federal Judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. He joined the court in 2003 after being nominated by President George W. Bush. His nomination had to be submitted three times due to a lack of vote by the full Senate on the nomination the first two times, and was confirmed on the third nomination by a vote of 52-41. Judge Sutton was born in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia, before his parents returned to the U.S. He graduated from Williams College with a Bachelor Degree in 1983 and from the Ohio State University College of Law with an LL.B. in 1990. Sutton was a law clerk for U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia; a State Solicitor in Ohio, and an adjunct Professor of Law at the Ohio State University College of Law. Sutton is noted for his opinion upholding states' right to regulate marriage. In the court's opinion upholding the ban, Sutton based the reversal on allowing states the ability to govern themselves through the democratic process without the fear of a select few judges overruling a decision made by the majority. Sutton stated in his conclusion: "Better in this instance, we think, to allow change through the customary political process, in which the people, gay and straight alike, become the heroes of their own stories by meeting each other not as adversaries in a court system but as fellow citizens seeking to resolve a new social issue in a fair-minded way." Sutton has been involved in other major rulings of the Court, including the case of a medical student (Amir al-Dabagh) at Case Western University kicked out for character issues. Sutton wrote the opinion, highlighting the fact that professionalism has been important to the medical field for centuries. Further, among the core competencies each degree candidate must meet at Case Western is professionalism, which ranks at number one on the list. Judge Sutton noted that the university's Committee on Students made an academic judgment when it refused to grant Al-Dabagh a degree and such determinations are given deference unless they are outside of academic norms.
U.S. Congress David Joyce (14th District) -the Congressman from northeast Ohio's 14 th  District has been serving since 2013 (when former Rep. LaTourette announced he would not seek re-election in 2012 after the ballot deadline). Joyce was placed on the ballot as the replacement by then-Governor John Kasich. Joyce, a former Prosecutor in Geauga County, had responsibility for prosecuting the Chardon High School shooting of six students by T.J. Lane, which took place on February 27, 2012.  This case elevated Joyce to national prominence. Congressman Joyce sits on the following committees: the House Committee on Appropriations, its Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies sub-committee as the Ranking Member, and the Financial Services and General Government subcommittees. He has had one bill signed into law during his tenure in office, the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative Act of 2016. Joyce is a member of the Republican Main Street Partnership, a coalition of moderate to liberal Republican politicians (founded by his predecessor LaTourette); the United States Congressional International Conservation Caucus, the Veterinary Medicine Caucus, the Climate Solutions Caucus and is co-chair of the Congressional Cannabis Caucus, which works to move legislation to block federal preemption of state marijuana legalization (both medical and recreational). Joyce receives an 80% score from Americans for Prosperity; 55% from Freedom Works; 18% from the Human Rights Campaign (the LGBT national lobby) and 4% from Planned Parenthood Action Fund. Congressman Joyce is considered a moderate legislator.
Ohio State Board of Education District 11, Meryl Johnson- Meryl Johnson, the elected member of the State Board of Education for District 11 in northeast Ohio is a retired teacher with 40 years of teaching experience in the Cleveland Public Schools. A graduate of Glenville High School, she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Kent State University and a Master of Education degree from Cleveland State University.  Ms. Johnson was a member of the North Shore AFL-CIO Executive Board for many years up until the time she was elected to the State Board. She is currently a member of the Board's Integrated Student Supports Committee. Johnson was elected to the State Board of Education in November 2016 and is eligible for re-election in 2020.
Ohio House Higher Education Committee- the committee that deals with issues facing Ohio's colleges and universities (that are not budget-related) is chaired by Rep. Candice Keller of Middletown. The committee has 13 members, eight Republican and five Democrats. The committee has had a fairly light workload during this session, as many of the issues dealing with higher education are financially-related and are dealt with in the state operating and capital budgets. The committee usually meets at 3:00 p.m. on Tuesdays.
Ohio Senate Local Government, Public Safety & Veterans' Affairs Committee- this committee takes on issues affecting county, municipal and township governments, as well as veterans and first responder issues. The Chairman is Senator Nathan Manning of Lorain County. The committee has 10 members, 7 Republicans and 3 Democrats. Having such a broad swath of issues to address, the committee has a steady, sometimes large workload of bills to contend with, from cemetery regulations to addressing the needs of Ohio's service veterans and service personnel. The committee meets on Tuesdays at 11:15 a.m.


The Right to Life Action Coalition of Ohio is an association of metropolitan, county and local pro-life organizations. RTLACO focuses on developing and strengthening local grass roots pro-life leadership, true representative governing for the statewide organization, a commitment to a consistent and holistic pro-life standard to evaluate both policies and elected officials/candidates, and collaborative engagement to develop priorities for action.
Cleveland Right to Life Mission


WE believe that all human beings are made in the image of the Creator and must be respected and protected from the moment of conception until natural death. We know to be true that human rights begin when human life begins, as affirmed in the Declaration of Independence.  So as to foster a culture of life we promote and defend the right to life of all innocent human beings and reject such practices as abortion, euthanasia, infanticide, and same-sex marriage that are contrary to "the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God".  We represent pro-life citizens from over 8 counties in the region, making our organization one of the largest pro-life organizations in the State of Ohio. We focus our efforts first and foremost at the local level to achieve local solutions and then cooperate with the state and national pro-life efforts as directed and needed.


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