• Barry Sheets

Friday Five February 14, 2020

Barry Sheets Legislative Consultant February 14, 2020

Happy Valentine’s Day!

This year, let us give our hearts to ministering to the most defenseless among us, and show our love for the moms and babies we serve and work to legally protect.


  1. Life at Conception—House Bill 413 is still not scheduled for hearings next week. Please continue to reach out to House Criminal Justice Committee Chairman George Lang and respectfully request that hearings are given to this vital pro-life bill. Also, consider calling members of the committee and encourage them to have Chairman Lang give HB 413 hearings, whose contact information can be found here.

  2. The Senate Health, Human Services and Medicaid Committee has scheduled a second hearing (proponent testimony only) on Senate Bill 260, Senator Stephen Huffman’s Telemed Abortion Ban legislation. SB260 requires a medical provider to be physically present with a pregnant woman when administering chemical abortion drugs to the woman. The Committee will meet on Wednesday, February 19th at 2:30 p.m. in the Senate South Hearing Room. Individuals wishing to testify in support would need to submit written testimony to the Sen. Dave Burke chairman no later than 24 hours prior to the committee start time.

  3. Representatives Ron Hood and Bill Dean unveiled legislation this week that would prohibit medical providers in Ohio from engaging in transgender conversion therapy and surgical procedures on minor children. The bill, to be introduced next week creates both criminal penalties (first degree misdemeanor for prohibited therapy practices and third degree felony provisions for surgical interventions) and civil rights of action for those injured, with a 20 year statute of limitations to bring claims. As there have been no long-term studies conducted to support claims regarding the effectiveness of sex reassignment treatments on minors in addressing gender dysphoria mental health issues, this bill seeks to reduce the harm of such interventions on children.

  4. The above bill is timely, as the medical provider community is now calling for state Children’s Services agency interventions to take away children from parents who resist or refuse to let providers pull children down the path of transgender sexual dysfunction. Writing in the Journal of the American Medical Association, as reported by Lifesite News, a group of academics writes “Neglect, as a medico-legal term, can be used to initiate an evaluation by Child Protective Services and remove a parent as a child’s legal guardian in the most severe instances...We conclude that situations where a parent prevents a minor from receiving treatments related to gender dysphoria violate the Harm Principle and justify state intervention.” This is all based on the presupposition that a minor child has preeminence in making such a life-altering decision. One has to wonder if these academics have ever studied brain development research, showing the logic centers (where we make rational, long-term decisions) do not fully form in a person until the age of 25?

  5. U.S. Senator Joni Ernst (R- Iowa) must be a reader of this newsletter, as just this week she advocated for the passage of the Senate version of the Born Alive After Abortion Survivors Protection Act, a bill I referenced last week as one needing to be adopted. Ernst, chiding Democrats (especially in the Nancy Pelosi controlled House), stated “These are babies that are born alive, and you would think this should be an easy moral decision to save the life of a child who is outside of the womb and is alive, but we don’t have that from our Democrats. They did block the bill.” Keep in prayer that common moral sense will prevail and this bill (and others like Life at Conception) will move forward to create an environment that cherishes and protects defenseless human life.


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

United States Court of Appeals, Sixth Circuit—Judge Jeffrey S. Sutton. Jeffrey S. Sutton is a Federal Judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. He joined the court in 2003 after being nominated by President George W. Bush. His nomination had to be submitted three times due to a lack of vote by the full Senate on the nomination the first two times, and was confirmed on the third nomination by a vote of 52-41. Judge Sutton was born in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia, before his parents returned to the U.S. He graduated from Williams College with a Bachelor Degree in 1983 and from the Ohio State University College of Law with an LL.B. in 1990. Sutton was a law clerk for U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia; a State Solicitor in Ohio, and an adjunct Professor of Law at the Ohio State University College of Law. Sutton is noted for his opinion upholding states’ right to regulate marriage. In the court's opinion upholding the ban, Sutton based the reversal on allowing states the ability to govern themselves through the democratic process without the fear of a select few judges overruling a decision made by the majority. Sutton stated in his conclusion: “Better in this instance, we think, to allow change through the customary political process, in which the people, gay and straight alike, become the heroes of their own stories by meeting each other not as adversaries in a court system but as fellow citizens seeking to resolve a new social issue in a fair-minded way.” Sutton has been involved in other major rulings of the Court, including the case of a medical student (Amir al-Dabagh) at Case Western University kicked out for character issues. Sutton wrote the opinion, highlighting the fact that professionalism has been important to the medical field for centuries. Further, among the core competencies each degree candidate must meet at Case Western is professionalism, which ranks at number one on the list. Judge Sutton noted that the university’s Committee on Students made an academic judgment when it refused to grant Al-Dabagh a degree and such determinations are given deference unless they are outside of academic norms.

U.S. Congress David Joyce (14th District)—the Congressman from northeast Ohio’s 14th District has been serving since 2013 (when former Rep. LaTourette announced he would not seek re-election in 2012 after the ballot deadline). Joyce was placed on the ballot as the replacement by then-Governor John Kasich. Joyce, a former Prosecutor in Geauga County, had responsibility for prosecuting the Chardon High School shooting of six students by T.J. Lane, which took place on February 27, 2012. This case elevated Joyce to national prominence. Congressman Joyce sits on the following committees: the House Committee on Appropriations, its Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies sub-committee as the Ranking Member, and the Financial Services and General Government subcommittees. He has had one bill signed into law during his tenure in office, the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative Act of 2016. Joyce is a member of the Republican Main Street Partnership, a coalition of moderate to liberal Republican politicians (founded by his predecessor LaTourette); the United States Congressional International Conservation Caucus, the Veterinary Medicine Caucus, the Climate Solutions Caucus and is co-chair of the Congressional Cannabis Caucus, which works to move legislation to block federal preemption of state marijuana legalization (both medical and recreational). Joyce receives an 80% score from Americans for Prosperity; 55% from Freedom Works; 18% from the Human Rights Campaign (the LGBT national lobby) and 4% from Planned Parenthood Action Fund. Congressman Joyce is considered a moderate legislator.

Ohio State Board of Education District 11, Meryl Johnson—Meryl Johnson, the elected member of the State Board of Education for District 11 in northeast Ohio is a retired teacher with 40 years of teaching experience in the Cleveland Public Schools. A graduate of Glenville High School, she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Kent State University and a Master of Education degree from Cleveland State University. Ms. Johnson was a member of the North Shore AFL-CIO Executive Board for many years up until the time she was elected to the State Board. She is currently a member of the Board’s Integrated Student Supports Committee. Johnson was elected to the State Board of Education in November 2016 and is eligible for re-election in 2020.

Ohio House Higher Education Committee—the committee that deals with issues facing Ohio’s colleges and universities (that are not budget-related) is chaired by Rep. Candice Keller of Middletown. The committee has 13 members, eight Republican and five Democrats. The committee has had a fairly light workload during this session, as many of the issues dealing with higher education are financially-related and are dealt with in the state operating and capital budgets. The committee usually meets at 3:00 p.m. on Tuesdays.

Ohio Senate Local Government, Public Safety & Veterans’ Affairs Committee—this committee takes on issues affecting county, municipal and township governments, as well as veterans and first responder issues. The Chairman is Senator Nathan Manning of Lorain County. The committee has 10 members, 7 Republicans and 3 Democrats. Having such a broad swath of issues to address, the committee has a steady, sometimes large workload of bills to contend with, from cemetery regulations to addressing the needs of Ohio’s service veterans and service personnel. The committee meets on Tuesdays at 11:15 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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