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Ohio 'Heartbeat' Bill, Planned Parenthood Funding on Agenda for Lame-Duck Session

Ohio 'Heartbeat' Bill, Planned Parenthood Funding on Agenda for Lame-Duck Session

November 13, 2012 — In a lame-duck session that began this week, Ohio Republicans plan to reconsider bills that would ban abortion once a fetal heartbeat is detectable and divert family planning funding away from Planned Parenthood, the Columbus Dispatch's "Daily Briefing" reports (Candisky, "Daily Briefing," Columbus Dispatch, 11/9).

'Heartbeat' Bill

Ohio Senate President Tom Niehaus (R) announced on Thursday that the Senate plans to reconsider the so-called "heartbeat" bill (HB 125). The bill, which could prohibit abortion before women even learn they are pregnant, does not include exceptions in cases of rape, incest or to save a woman's life (Bassett, Huffington Post, 11/9).

The bill has been stalled in the Senate since June 2011, in part because of disagreements between two antiabortion-rights groups -- Ohio Right to Life and Faith2Action. Ohio Right to Life withheld support because the group thought that the bill could not survive a court challenge and could lead the Supreme Court to reaffirm Roe v. Wade. However, Faith2Action -- a group formed by local chapters of Ohio Right to Life -- pushed for the bill's passage in the House.

Niehaus said the two groups have prepared compromise language for the bill, although details were not released (Kostyu, "Politics Extra," Cincinnati Enquirer, 11/8).

Planned Parenthood Bill

Meanwhile, the House Health and Aging Committee this week is restarting hearings on legislation (HB 298) that would create a priority system for distributing federal family planning funds, placing Planned Parenthood at the bottom of the list.

The bill, which is backed by Ohio Right to Life, stalled last spring over concern that it would divert money from hospitals ("Daily Briefing," Columbus Dispatch, 11/9).


Kellie Copeland, president of NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio, said Friday that Republican state legislators must not have paid attention to post-election exit polling that found a majority of Ohio voters support abortion rights. "They obviously didn't get the memo from the pro-choice majority in Ohio, which is, knock it off," she said, adding, "Get out of our bedrooms and our doctors' offices and get back to doing your jobs" (Huffington Post, 11/9).