Friday 5 - January 31, 2020
RIGHT TO LIFE ACTION COALITION OF OHIO Friday Five Barry Sheets, Legislative Consultant
January 31, 2020
January is at an end, but the battle to defend and protect defenseless unborn life continues unabated. In an ironic reversal, the abortion movement is now having to buy billboards to try to remind the public that abortion is still available in Ohio (and we hope soon that these will be false advertising in Ohio!) NEWS AND VIEWS
1. Life at Conception—House Bill 413, sponsored by Rep. Candice Keller and Rep. Ron Hood, was assigned to the House Criminal Justice Committee in November. The chairman, Rep. George Lang, has not yet scheduled the bill for testimony. Coincidentally, Rep. Lang is running against Rep. Keller for the nomination to fill the 2nd Senate District seat in Butler County. We hope politics hasn’t been the reason why HB 413 has been prevented from having hearings to this point! Please start calling the committee chairman and respectfully ask that he move to schedule hearings on the bill soon!
2. In an effort to slow down the growing momentum of the access to chemical abortion drugs, Senator Stephen Huffman, himself a physician, has introduced SB 260, a bill to ban chemical abortion provision via telemedicine. With recent advances in telemedicine, the physician doesn’t have to be in the same room, building, state, etc. to prescribe and provide the first dosage of abortion-causing chemicals (such as RU-486) SB 260, although it doesn’t address banning such drugs or such chemical abortions, does require a physician to physically be in the same room with the woman to administer the first round of drugs. The bill doesn’t stop any abortions, but it does keep the abortionist from just phoning (or Skyping) in a killing. The bill was given sponsor (Sen. Huffman) testimony on Wednesday of this week.
3. House Bill 369, the bill to expand special rights to individuals based on their sexual preferences and practices, has been scheduled for proponent (supporter) testimony in the House Civil Justice Committee on Tuesday, Feb. 4th, at 2 pm. This bill is unnecessary and dangerous to people of faith, their businesses (think the cake bakers and photographers), and to our churches and houses of worship. Please contact the committee members, especially if they are your representative for your home area, and ask the respectfully to discontinue hearings on this measure. Especially onerous is a provision requiring “educational programming” in schools and the general public to teach about the “origins of prejudice” against the sexually dysfunctional (LGBT, etc.). Three guesses as to where the blame for such “prejudice” will be focused—that’s right: on people of faith and on Christianity. This bill should not move forward.
4. Many of you may have recently seen announcements regarding an upcoming introduction of a bill known as a “trigger law” abortion ban. While it is a novel idea, there are numerous unanswered questions regarding the constitutionality of enacting legislation that, per it’s own language, doesn’t have legal validity until another separate act takes place by a body other than the Legislature (in this case the Supreme Court giving an opinion reversing Roe). Even with that, it raises the question of whether or not there has to be specific language from the USSC to “trigger” the state bill, if the bill would still undergo legal challenges as not being “triggered” by a less-than-on-point USSC opinion, etc. Ironically, it would take the passage and USSC approval of a bill such as Life at Conception (HB 413) that prohibits abortions from the point of fertilization, in order to “trigger” the trigger bill, which makes the trigger bill redundant and unnecessary. Another unintended consequence is that this measure creates a way for less-than-honorable politicians to vote in favor of a bill to “end abortion” that doesn’t have the ability by it’s own merits to actually end abortion in Ohio. I would suggest that putting effort into passing laws which take effect upon the signature of Ohio’s Governor (regardless of whether or not they are legally challenged by pro-abortion forces) rather than depend upon a future act by an outside actor is a much more productive way to work.
5. Democrats for Life of America (yes, this organization exists) finds itself in a quandary: they don’t want to support Democrat candidates (for President) who would, by the candidate’s own rhetoric, be happy to exclude pro-life Democrats from the party. Given the slavish devotion of the national Democratic party to the abortion-on-demand crowd, and the public statements of leading Democrat candidates like Pete Buttigieg, Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren and Joe Biden, it looks like Democrats for Life might have to vote for pro-life President Trump if they want a Presidential candidate who welcomes pro-life Democrats engaging in the political process!
Each installment of the Friday Five will bring thumbnail profiles of key policymakers and committees.
United States Court of Appeals, Sixth Circuit--The U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, established under the Judiciary Act of 1801 with it’s borders set by the Judiciary Act of 1866, and designated to sit in Cincinnati, Ohio, reviews federal district court and circuit court decisions from Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio, and Tennessee. There are 28 Federal judges which comprise the Sixth Circuit’s body of deliberation, with R. Guy Cole, Jr. currently presiding as the Chief Judge.
Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart (himself a former member of the Sixth Circuit before being nominated to the nation’s highest court) wrote regarding the unique importance of this particular circuit court: “The Sixth Federal Judicial Circuit is a cross section of the nation. Extending from the tip of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula to the Mississippi border, it spans the heartland of our country. So it is that the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit is not a regional court but in every sense a national one. Its workload reflects the pluralism and diversity of our national life.”
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit has been called upon to decide many cases of great significance. In recent years, the court’s caseload has dealt with issues of national importance such as same-sex marriage, the Affordable Care Act, and the Clean Water Act, to name just a few. Currently, pro-life legislation has been given greater status through Sixth Circuit rulings, and we hope that trend continues.
We will be profiling each of the judges in the Sixth Circuit beginning with next week’s edition.
Congress--(12th District)--Troy Balderson. Congressman Troy Balderson of Zanesville is Ohio’s newest member of Congress, having won a special election in 2018 to fill the seat of outgoing member Pat Tiberi of Columbus, after serving in both the Ohio House and Senate. In his first full term of office, Congressman Balderson has sponsored two bills, neither of which are likely to pass in the Democrat-controlled House. Balderson has not been scored by most major interest organizations on his votes at this point.
Balderson serves on the House Committee on Small Business and it’s Innovation and Workforce Development subcommittee as the ranking Member, as well as on the Contracting and Infrastructure subcommittees. He also serves on the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology, it’s Research and Technology subcommittees, the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure and it’s associated Aviation, Highways and Transit, Railroads, Pipelines, and Hazardous Materials subcommittees. Balderson is eligible for re-election in 2020.
Ohio State Board of Education District 9—Stephanie Dodd. Stephanie Dodd of Buckeye Lake, who is serving her second four-year term on the Board, is the owner of SLD Consulting, LLC, a company specializing in fundraising, development and event planning for nonprofit organizations. She previously worked in government relations at a Fortune 500 company, where she oversaw political action committee fundraising and as a financial analyst specializing in budgeting, forecasting and capital analysis.
Dodd holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of Cincinnati, with majors in finance, information systems and digital business. Dodd, a Democrat, was a former candidate for Lt. Governor of Ohio. She currently serves on the Board’s Continuous Improvement Committee. Dodd is prohibited by term limits from seeking an additional term in 2020.
Ohio House Financial Institutions Committee—This committee is tasked with reviewing legislation that impacts the banking industry. Financial Institutions is comprised of 15 members, 9 Republican and 6 Democrat, and is chaired by Rep. Kris Jordan of Delaware. The committee hears measures dealing with banking laws, credit reporting, teller machines and even crowdfunding! The committee meets on Tuesdays at 5 p.m.
Ohio Senate Insurance and Financial Institutions Committee—The Senate’s version of the committee hears similar measure to the House Financial Institutions Committee, but also hear matters relating to the regulation of insurance in Ohio as well. The committee is comprised of 13 members, 10 Republican and three Democrat. It is chaired by Senator Bob Hackett of London. The committee has considered the budgets for the Workers’ Compensation system, issues dealing with mental health coverage, and maternity leave. The committee meets on Wednesdays at 11:15 a.m.
Personal note: It has been a great encouragement and comfort to me and my family to have so many of you praying on our behalf over my current battle with cancer. My surgery was a great success, praise God. My doctors are now watching some spots that scans have revealed in my right lung and on some of the lymph nodes that are near where the diseased kidney was located. Optimistically, my oncologist doesn’t want me back for further scans until late April! Your continued prayers for God’s complete healing over this, and for His glory and power to be made known through it, are appreciated.
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.