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Friday Five

Barry Sheets, Legislative Consultant
May 17, 2019

The curtain has risen on Act 2 of Ohio's role in restoring a Culture of Life,  as we move into the legal phase of the drama around Heartbeat.  A separate action by the Supreme Court makes this more intriguing

ERRATA: It has come to our attention that last issue's report on the Lakewood City Council meeting was incorrect. The non-binding resolution rebuking the passage of SB 23 was adopted by a 5-2 vote. The ordinance regarding changing the city's charter concerning abortion was temporarily withdrawn and may be re-filed later. Thank you to our readers who were at the meeting and helped clarify the actions on these two items.


1. Lawsuit watch 4: 34 days. It took the ACLU, Planned Parenthood and the private abortion providers that long to file a legal challenge to the enactment of the Human Rights and Heartbeat Protection Act (SB23) with the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio. Filing on Wednesday, the case was assigned to Senior Judge Michael Barrett, one of the 12 judges in the Southern District (four seats are currently vacant of 16 total). Barrett, an appointee of former President George W. Bush, had taken Senior status in February and is no stranger to abortion jurisprudence. Barrett was also assigned the Dismemberment Abortion Ban suit (ongoing) and the Planned Parenthood Funding Ban suit, in both proceedings he ruled in favor of the abortion lobby. Three straight cases, three times the same judge is "randomly" assigned the case. Hmmm...coincidence?

2. The State of Alabama has made the phrase "Sweet Home Alabama" have much more meaning, especially for the unborn.  Alabama's Human Life Protection Act (H314), to make performing or attempting an abortion a felony offense, was adopted by the Alabama Senate on Tuesday by a vote of 25-6. Governor Kay Ivey signed the bill on Wednesday. The ACLU and abortion providers have promised a lawsuit, true to form. The bill is very similar to Ohio's Life at Conception Act which was introduced last session as HB 565, and is likely to be reintroduced in the near future.  Ohio, the Heartbeat of it All...

3. The ACLU and the abortion lobby must be second-guessing themselves now as the U. S. Supreme Court has shown a decided shift toward taking the Constitution seriously. In a 5-4 decision issued on Monday (written by Justice Clarence Thomas, with Chief Justice Roberts, Justices Alito, Gorsuch and Kavanaugh concurring), the court in the Franchise Tax Board of California vs. Hyatt case reversed a standing precedent of the 1979 Nevada v. Hall case and declared states retain their sovereign immunity from private suits brought in other states' courts. What is that to pro-life jurisprudence? It could be everything, as this decision shows the 2019 Roberts court is willing to overturn previous precedent (and turn from the doctrine of stare decisis). Justice Stephen Breyer in his dissent (joined by Justices Ginsburg, Sotomayor and Kagan) claims that "stare decisis requires us to follow Hall, not overrule it" and cites Planned Parenthood v. Casey as authority. Breyer also notes "the majority believes that Hall was wrongly decided" and states "Today's decision can only cause one to wonder which cases the Court will overrule next." I have a suggestion: how about Planned Parenthood v. Casey and its progenitor precedent Roe v. Wade Ohio has a case coming your way soon....

4. Representative John Becker (R-Clermont County) has been facing an aggressive backlash from abortion supporters over House Bill 182, which would prohibit both public and private insurance from offering coverage for abortions. From name calling, to threats, and being lampooned on "Last Week Tonight with John Oliver" the HBO parody talk show, Becker and the legislation have drawn significant attention. If the national liberal media is paying attention to your pro-life legislation, you must be onto something pretty important. Way to go, Representative Becker!

5.  The Missouri Senate on Thursday by a vote of 24-10, passed HB 126, the "Missouri Stands for the Unborn Act."  This is Missouri's Heartbeat Bill, banning abortions at eight weeks.  The bill includes multiple trigger provisions: 1) if Roe is overturned, abortion is made illegal in the state; 2) if the eight week ban is struck down, the bill reverts to a pain-capable ban; 3) provisions also totally ban abortions for causes of race, sex or Down's Syndrome diagnosis . The legislation, which awaits House concurrence and the signature of Governor Mike Parson, who supports it, states it this way: "it is the intention of the general assembly of the state of Missouri" to "defend the right to life of all humans, born and unborn" and to "declare that the state and all of its political subdivisions are a 'sanctuary of life' that protects pregnant women and their unborn children."  Missouri takes its state motto "Let the good of the people be the supreme law" very seriously just like our own Ohio motto "With God, All Things Are Possible"!
 6.  A group of U.S. Congressmen led by Arizona Representative Andy Biggs, to include Ohio's Bob Latta, 5th  Congressional District and Rep Bob Gibbs, 7th  Congressional District introduced legislation this week: H.R.2742 to amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986  to provide that amounts paid for an abortion are not taken into account for purposes of the deduction for medical expenses. Yes, that's right, yet ANOTHER area in which our tax dollars are being used to subsidize the abortion industry. Even though HR 2742 is not expected to receive hearings under a Democrat-controlled House intent on continuing to allow the killing of babies born alive after a failed abortion attempt (the Democrat majority has now voted that measure down 44 times this year), it will make for some interesting talking points on the stump and during debates in the upcoming federal election cycle.



Ohio Department of Developmental Disabilities (DODD) Director Jeffrey Davis
Davis has been appointed by Governor Mike DeWine to head the agency that coordinates services to nearly 96,000 Ohioans who access those services by working with their county board of developmental disabilities, direct service providers, and provider agencies to get the support they need to live the life they want while being challenged by disability. Davis previously served as the executive director and director of government affairs of the Ohio Provider Resource Association. The new Director also served as deputy director for constituent services at the agency he now heads for 16 years.

Senator Nathan Manning (R) 
The legacy legislator from the 13th  Senate District in Lorain County is in his first term in the Ohio Senate. A former prosecutor for his hometown of North Ridgeville, Manning is a partner at Manning and Manning Attorneys at Law. He is holding the Senate seat previously held by his mother, Gayle Manning, now holding his old state representative seat and before that by his father, Jeffrey Manning. Manning is Vice Chairman of the Judiciary Committee, and sits on the Finance and Ways and Means Committees.  He has voted against pro-life legislation repeatedly during his terms in the House, and against the Human Rights and Heartbeat Protection Act in the Senate.

Representative Kyle Koehler (R)
The third term member from Springfield's 79 th  House District currently serves as Chairman of the House Agriculture and Rural Development Committee, and serves on the Federalism and Primary/Secondary Education Committees. A software engineer by training, he owns and operates K.K. Tool Co., Inc. Koehler has been a consistent pro-life vote during his tenure in office.

Representative Laura Lanese (R) 
The second term representative from Franklin County's 23rd District calls Grove City home. A former at-large Grove City council member, Lanese was a former attorney for the U.S. Department of Justice and United States District Court in the Southern District of Ohio. She has honorably served in the Ohio Air National Guard and the U.S. Army Reserve. Married to former Ohio State University football standout Mike Lanese, they have three children. Lanese has been a consistent pro-life vote during her tenure in the House.
Representative George Lang (R) 
Hailing from Butler County's West Chester Township and coming from serving on their Board of Trustees for four terms, Lang, a financial services professional, is in his first full term in the Ohio House serving the 52nd District, having been appointed to the seat in the 132nd Assembly. Chairing the Criminal Justice Committee, Lang also serves on the Insurance, Financial Institutions, and Economic and Workforce Development Committees. He has mainly voted pro-life, including supporting SB 23, but did vote in favor of a successful motion to table (kill) an amendment brought by Rep. Bill Dean on an insurance bill to ban insurance coverage for abortion during the 132nd session.

Right to Life of Greater Cincinnati is a proud member organization of the 
Contact: Meg Wittman, Executive Director, Right to Life of Greater Cincinnati, 513/728-7870.

Right to Life of Greater Cincinnati is a grassroots organization, which exists to ensure that pro-life principles of protection and dignity for all innocent human life are upheld and kept before the public; Jack Hart, President. Affiliated with Right to Life Action Coalition of Ohio.