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Friday Five

Barry Sheets, Legislative Consultant
March 22, 2019

Spring is here, and pro-life activists have spring in our steps with the activity that is happening both in Ohio and nationally!


1. Proponent testimony was taken on the Humanity of the Unborn Education Act (HB 90) in the House Health Committee on Tuesday. During my testimony, Democrat members of the committee raised objections to the allocation of funding ($500,000 per year) for this program to educate students on the development of unborn human beings. The funding is to provide programming to schools and to create a database of available programs (private and public) that support pregnant mothers, provide material needs, and counsel for adoption. Money well-spent in prevention and education saves more money spent on fixing problems was my response.

2. Sponsor Kristina Roegner and twenty witnesses appeared and gave support testimony for SB 23, the Human Heartbeat Protection Act (The Heartbeat Bill) during the Health Committee hearing.  Mark Harrington of Created Equal (an RTLACO partner organization) and I both testified, and both were peppered with questions from Democrats on the committee. The committee Republicans were very receptive to the bill, and next week an "all-testimony" hearing is scheduled for Tuesday at 11 a.m.  The anticipation is that the bill may be voted from committee within two weeks and sent to the House floor.

3.  Margie Christie, RTLACO President and Dayton Right to Life Executive Director and I testified in support of Senator Joe Uecker's SB 27, the Fetal Remains Dignity Act. This bill is in response to an investigation by then-Attorney General Mike DeWine who found that current laws did not provide a means to ensure that an accurate count of the number of abortions being performed could be obtained, which prevents being able to determine whether or not body part selling is occurring. SB 27 would address this by requiring humane burial or cremation of each aborted child, with documentation with each set of remains that is collected by the Department of Health. Another hearing has been scheduled for next Tuesday at 9:30 for all testimony with a potential vote from committee.

4. The 6th US Circuit Court of Appeals gave pro-life advocates and our pro-life legislative champions a big win last week, as they ruled that Ohio's law prohibiting six different grant funds from going to organizations that promote, refer or perform abortions is indeed a constitutional exercise of state authority. Justice Jeff Sutton noted "(the law) does not violate the Constitution because the affiliates do not have a due process right to perform abortions." An appeal by Planned Parenthood is anticipated to the United States Supreme Court.

5. A great win for free speech which will benefit pro-life student groups on college campuses happened on Thursday when President Donald Trump signed an Executive Order requiring colleges and universities wanting to receive federal grant funds (except federal student aid) must put in place free speech protections for students and groups. Ellie Wittman (board member of RTLACO member organization Dayton Right to Life and sister to Cincinnati Right to Life Executive Director Meg Wittman) joined the President for the signing as she and the Students for Life at Miami University of Ohio were forced to sue Miami over discriminatory practices based upon their group's pro-life message.



Ohio Adjutant General's Department Director
Maj. Gen. John C.  Harris, Jr. is the Adjutant General, Ohio National Guard, Joint Force Headquarters. He is a member of the Governor's cabinet and is responsible for the command of the Ohio National Guard and the military readiness of the Ohio Militia. The Ohio National Guard consists of the Ohio Army National Guard, Ohio Air National Guard, Ohio Military Reserve, and Ohio Naval Militia, totaling more than 16,000 personnel. General Harris leads the flag officer heads of these components in the day-to-day operation and management of the readiness, fiscal, personnel, equipment, and real property resources of the agency.

Senator Stephen Huffman (R)
The freshman member from Tipp City is a physician who has served Upper Valley Medical Center and Wayne Hospital, and has previously served four terms in the Ohio House. He serves as the vice-chairman of the Senate Health, Human Services and Medicaid Committtee as well as vice-chair of the Health subcommittee of Finance. Senator Huffman is a solid pro-life vote and earned the endorsement of RTLACO in the 2018 elections.

Representative Jay Edwards (R)
The second term member from Nelsonville in the 94th District has risen to the position of Majority Whip in the leadership team of Speaker Larry Householder. Edwards has been a solid pro-life vote during his tenure, and is now responsible for ensuring sufficient votes for policy issues on the floor of the House.

Representative Tavia Galonski (D)
Serving her first full term after an appointment to the 35th  District seat from Akron, Galonski is an attorney and former Common Pleas Court magistrate in Summit County. Her voting record has been consistently against pro-life bills.

Representative Tim Ginter (R)
The fourth-term pastor from Salem in northeast Ohio's 5th  District has been a leader on pro-life, pro-family and religious liberties issues during his tenure. The sponsor of the Student Religious Freedom Act, Ginter has also been the chairman of the Community and Family Advancement Committee, which shepherded a number of pro-life issues into law in the last 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.