• Barry Sheets

Friday 5 - January 17, 2020

RIGHT TO LIFE ACTION COALITION OF OHIO Friday Five Barry Sheets, Legislative Consultant January 17, 2020

On the eve of the Roe remembrance marches, let us take time to pray for our elected officials, judges and faith leaders. In order to make the policies to protect life, we will need God’s hand on the hearts of those in authority to stand firm for His plan. NEWS AND VIEWS

1. Congress is finally finding a voice on the life issue. In an encouraging move, US Senator David Perdue of Georgia, a Republicans, has introduced legislation to end the definition allowed by the Internal Revenue Service for abortion as “medical care”. The change would block the procedure’s tax deductibility as an out-of-pocket medical expense (how many of you knew that killing a baby is a tax deduction?) Perdue’s bill the “Abortion is Not Healthcare Act” has 16 co-sponsors. It has not yet been assigned to a committee as of this writing. Neither of Ohio’s US Senators (Sherrod Brown and Rob Portman) are co-sponsors of this important bill.

2. Planned Parenthood had a record 2019, which is a shame on our nation. This organization alone has accounted for 345,672 dead babies during the 2018-2019 reporting period, an increase of 4% over the previous period. The abattoir operators also sucked up $616.18 million in taxpayer funds in the same period, also an increase (9.4% uptick) over the previous period. That means the American taxpayer is forking over $1,782.56 to Planned Parenthood for the killing of each child. It’s time to demand of our federal elected officials to stop talking about defunding PP (which obviously they don’t understand the definition of the word, as PP keeps getting MORE money), and actually move to close the spigots of money to this abhorrent practice.

3. Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) Alex Azar on Thursday gave remarks to visiting foreign dignitaries, representing over 30 countries, of the Trump Administrations continuing commitment to pro-life in the US’s Global Health Policy initiatives. The Secretary noted “Every country has the right, and the duty to its own citizens, to decide for themselves how laws and policies can best strengthen the family, ensure optimal health for women and adolescents throughout their lifespan, and protect the unborn. These issues are a topic of active debate here in the United States, in our domestic politics, including with regard to our abortion laws, which are some of the world's most liberal. The Trump Administration has worked extremely hard to provide better protections for the unborn in the United States, and we do so working through our own legislative and legal systems. There is no role in this debate for interference from U.N. agencies or other countries.” This is very good news, and an encouragement that there is more to come for pro-life from this administration in the future.

4. At the same time as Secretary Azar’s meeting, HHS also rolled out proposed rules to give faith-based groups more equal footing in social service programming, prohibiting discrimination of programs from being denied access to the programs based on their religious nature. The proposed rule would eradicate an Obama-era Executive Order requiring religious-based organizations to make referrals out to secular entities for services funded under federal grants. The proposal states the Obama EO must end because “these burdens were not required by any applicable law, and because they were imposed only on religious social service providers, they are in tension with recent Supreme Court precedent regarding nondiscrimination against religious organizations.”

5. My colleague at Citizens for Community Values and good friend Rachel Citak, the legal counsel of the organization, just had published a great article with her thoughts on the Michelle Williams abortion speech at the Golden Globe awards. You can read it here, and use this insightful piece as a great way to turn the conversation to a pro-life message!


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

United States Supreme Court—Neil Gorsuch Associate Justice. Gorsuch was born in Denver, Colorado, August 29, 1967. He received a B.A. from Columbia University, a J.D. from Harvard Law School, and a D.Phil. from Oxford University. He served as a law clerk to Judge David B. Sentelle of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, and as a law clerk to Justice Byron White and Justice Anthony M. Kennedy of the Supreme Court of the United States.

From 1995–2005, he was in private practice, and from 2005–2006 he was Principal Deputy Associate Attorney General at the U.S. Department of Justice. He was appointed to the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit in 2006. He served on the Standing Committee on Rules for Practice and Procedure of the U.S. Judicial Conference, and as chairman of the Advisory Committee on Rules of Appellate Procedure. He taught at the University of Colorado Law School. President Donald J. Trump nominated him as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court, and he took his seat on April 10, 2017. He is the review Justice for the Eighth US Circuit Court of Appeals, which encompasses the states of Arkansas, Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, and South Dakota.

Gorsuch, a Constitutional originalist, has voted primarily with the conservative wing of the Court (Thomas, Alito, Roberts (at times), Kavanaugh), and is noted for prior legal writings supporting the right to life.

Congress--(10th District)--Mike Turner (R). Turner is the representative for Ohio’s 10th Congressional district. He has served since 2003, a total of 9 terms in office. Turner is next up for reelection in 2020. Turner sits on the following committees: House Committee on Armed Services, and is the Ranking member on the Strategic Forces subcommittee. He also sits on the Tactical Air and Land Forces subcommittees, the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, and the Defense Intelligence and Warfighter Support, Strategic Technologies and Advanced Research subcommittees.

Turner is a center-right politician, who has not sponsored any pro-life legislation during his tenure. He has received scores from some of the following special interest groups who score Congressional voting records: US Chamber of Commerce 100%; Freedom Works 55%; Club for Growth 41%; American Civil Liberties Union 14%, Human Rights Campaign (homosexual rights group) 15%, and Planned Parenthood Action Fund 3%. Turner has voted for budgets which have funded Planned Parenthood for hundreds of millions of dollars.

Ohio State Board of Education District 7—Sarah Fowler—The only home-school graduate to ever sit on the State Board of Education, Sarah Fowler was elected to the Board in 2012 and has been re-elected to an additional four-year term in 2016. She is reaching the end of her Board service, the panel having term limits (two consecutive terms).

During her time on the State Board, Fowler has served on more than 10 committees and several work groups, giving her a wide range of education policy experience. She currently chairs the Board’s Teaching, Learning & Leading committee, which deals with the state standards and model curricula development, and is also a member of the Executive Committee. She also previously served as Ohio’s appointee to the National Association of State Boards of Education’s Workgroup on Governmental Affairs, which focuses on federal education law and policy.

Fowler is noted for support parents’ choices for their children’s educations and local control of Ohio’s public schools in policy decisions. Fowler is also an avid supporter of youth and young adult mentorship and development opportunities. In the last six years, she has supported several youth mentorship organizations, mentored six interns, volunteered as a speech and debate mentor and judge, taken part in summer history camps for elementary and middle school students and volunteered with local political organizations for young people.

Fowler is currently a candidate for nomination for the open 99th House District seat in portions of Geauga and Ashtabula Counties.

Ohio House Federalism Committee---Chaired by Rep. John Becker of Clermont County, the committee is comprised of eight Republicans and five Democrats. The committee is charged with reviewing legislation touching on issues from voting to recognizing Jerusalem as the capitol of Israel, but mainly it has been busy with legislation dealing with 2nd Amendment rights and gun control. The committee meets on Wednesdays at 9 a.m.

Ohio Senate Health, Human Services and Medicaid Committee---The committee charged with hearing virtually all of the pro-life legislation put forth in the Assembly is chaired by Senator Dave Burke, a pharmacist from Marysville. The committee is comprised of nine Republicans and three Democrats. Arguably the most active committee of the Senate, this panel has been assigned 45 bills so far in the session, ranging from the Heartbeat bill to bills dealing with vaccinations and every other conceivable health-related topic. The committee meets on Wednesday at 2:30 p.m.

Prayer request: On Monday, I will be undergoing CAT scans to determine if the cancer from my kidney has migrated to other parts of my body or not. I would ask for your continued prayers for the results to be good. In any instance, may God be glorified through it all.

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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