• Barry Sheets

Friday 5 - February 7, 2020

RIGHT TO LIFE ACTION COALITION OF OHIO Friday Five Barry Sheets, Legislative Consultant

February 7, 2020

The days may be cold and dark, but we can see real light with the advance of pro-life principles at both the national and state levels. In this leap year month, lets leap ahead in the effort to protect the defenseless unborn! NEWS AND VIEWS

1. Life at Conception—The House Criminal Justice Committee canceled their scheduled hearings for this week; however, House Bill 413 wasn’t added to the schedule. It is unsure as of this writing if the committee will be meeting next Thursday, so please keep calling Chairman George Lang’s office (614-466-8550) and respectfully request that he schedule the Life at Conception legislation for hearings this month.

2. The House Health Committee has scheduled a hearing on Rep. Jena Powell’s resolution (House Resolution 180) regarding making pornography a public health crisis in Ohio, drawing attention to the detrimental effects on personal, family and societal cohesion from the consumption of pornographic materials. Usage can have a downstream effect on relationships, including higher incidents of affairs that can lead to an increase in abortions. The committee meets on Tuesday at 11 a.m. and is scheduled for open testimony (proponent, opponent, interested party).

3. Representative Jena Powell is very busy these days. The freshman legislator from western Ohio has also recently introduced legislation (House Bill 486) that would prohibit what the bill calls “fradulent assisted reproduction” The bill states that “no health care professional shall purposely or knowingly use human reproductive material from a donor while performing an assisted reproduction procedure if the person receiving the procedure has not expressly consented to the use of the material from that donor.” The bill has been assigned to the House Criminal Justice Committee, chaired by Rep. George Lang.

4. The State of the Union address given by President Trump on Tuesday night was notable for one major thing, and it didn’t have anything to do with tearing up a piece of paper. The President called on Congress (and Speaker Nancy Pelosi specifically, who has been holding up such legislation) to pass a late term abortion ban (such as the pain-capable abortion ban) and put it on his desk to sign. This is a significant step by a sitting President. I only wish he would have asked for the Born Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act (S.311) as well!

5. Meet me in Cleveland!—Don’t forget to register now and come to the Bringing America Back to Life conference, sponsored by Cleveland Right to Life, on March 6th and 7th at the Embassy Suites Hotel in Independence, Ohio. For RTLACO members, the annual state meeting will be on Thursday, March 5th at the same location. I look forward to seeing and talking with many of you there!


Each installment of the Friday Five will bring thumbnail profiles of key policymakers and committees.

United States Court of Appeals, Sixth Circuit—Chief Judge R(ansey) Guy Cole, Jr.--The first African American Chief Judge of the Circuit, Judge Cole was appointed to the Sixth Circuit bench in December of 1995 by then President Bill Clinton. Cole, formerly an attorney in private practice in Columbus, Ohio, grew up in Birmingham, Alabama and graduated from Tufts University and from Yale Law School.

Cole’s nomination to the Circuit was not considered to be contentious, and he was unanimously voted to confirm by the Senate Judiciary Committee, led by Senator Orrin Hatch. He has served as chief judge since August, 2014. There are few notable cases that Judge Cole has written the opinion for, but one he was the lead opinion on in a case regarding retiree benefit contracts (M&G Polymers vs. Tackett) was vacated by the United States Supreme Court, with Justice Clarence Thomas noting that the Circuit panel erred in their decision and their standard for the ruling. As there are no term limits on federal judges, Cole could be Chief Judge well into the future.

Congress--(13th District)--Tim Ryan. The Congressman for the 13th District in far northeastern Ohio has served the district since 2003. Congressman Ryan serves on the House Committee on Appropriations and as chairman of the Legislative Branch subcommittee, as well as serving on the Defense, Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies subcommittees. Ryan has seen five pieces of legislation enacted during his tenure, four of which were those to name federal buildings.

Ryan is considered a consistent political liberal, scoring 100% scores from both Planned Parenthood Action Fund and the Human Rights Campaign. The ACLU scores him at 86%, whereas he receives a 2% score from Club for Growth. Ryan is mainly known for three things: his abortive attempt to gain the Democratic nomination for President during 2019, his writing of a book on “mindfulness”, and his walking out in the middle of President Donald Trump’s State of the Union address on Tuesday. Ryan is eligible to run for re-election in 2020.

Ohio State Board of Education District 10—Nick Owens—Owens, an attorney and former Congressional staffer, represents the southwestern Ohio district at the Board. Owens received his law degree from the University of Dayton, and he currently serves as an assistant prosecutor in Brown County. He is the vice chairman of the Board’s Teaching, Leading, Learning committee.

In November 2016, Owens was elected to the State Board of Education for a four-year term, representing 17 counties and more than one million constituents in southern Ohio. Additionally, Owens serves as a trustee to the US Grant Homestead Association. He is eligible for re-election in 2020, but has currently filed and is seeking the Republican nomination to the 66th District State Representative seat in the March primary. Should he be successful in this race, he would not be able to run for a second term on the Board.

Ohio House Health Committee: One of the most important committees to pro-life policy, the House Health Committee is comprised of eleven Republican and seven Democrat members. Chaired by Warren County Representative Scott Lipps, this committee is by far the busiest committee in the entire General Assembly, having been assigned 78 pieces of legislation this session so far, nearly 10% of all of the bills introduced in both chambers to this point. The committee deals with issues relating to abortion, education, medical standards and public health, to name a few. The Heartbeat bill made its way through this committee, and other pro-life bills are awaiting action by the panel. The committee meets on Tuesdays at 11 a.m.

Ohio Senate Judiciary Committee: This committee, chaired by Geauga County Senator John Eklund, a practicing attorney, deals with matters affecting civil and criminal penalties, the practice of law, the courts, and legal education. The committee is comprised of seven Republican and three Democrat members, and have had 52 bills assigned to the committee, on a range of topics from sexual orientation and gender identity to drug cartels and school bullying. The committee meets on Wednesdays at 9:15 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.


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