This week was a busy one at the Statehouse for us and the members of the General Assembly. Members are trying to pack a lot of work in before they break for the primary election on May 8th.
By the way, make sure you are registered to vote in the May 8th primary election—the registration deadline is April 9th.
FEATURED BILL OF THE WEEK:
HUMANE DISPOSAL OF ABORTED UNBORN CHILD REMAINS
The House Health Committee heard proponent testimony on Senate Bill 28. The bill was introduced by Senator Joe Uecker (R-Loveland) and would create a standard definition for the word “humane,” in the context of disposal of aborted babies’ bodies. Current Ohio law requires this disposal to be “humane.” Senate Bill 28 would create a standard that says that only burial or cremation is considered humane. The issue arose when the Ohio Attorney General filed a report—that resulted from an investigation—that Planned Parenthood had been disposing of babies’ bodies in landfills. CCV testified in favor of the bill because we believe that throwing a baby’s body into a landfill cannot be considered “humane.”
During testimony, we testified about Planned Parenthood’s practices more generally and urged the legislature to examine this agency more closely. One Democratic Party member said that she was “offended” at these assertions about Planned Parenthood. She said that we should see what the organization does in her district and asked where we got our information. We responded that all the information we were discussing in our testimony came directly from Planned Parenthood’s own annual report.
- CCV continues to work hard to protect religious freedom in Ohio by opposing House Bill 160, which would—among many other provisions—practically outlaw statements of faith requirements for organizations in Ohio, impose affirmative action for hiring of people self-identifying as certain sexual orientations and gender identities, require the Department of Education to teach children about sexual orientation and gender identity, and would require battered women’s shelters to admit gender dysphoric men into private facilities with the females they serve. We met with the Ohio Civil Rights Commission and had a productive discussion this week. We also met with several members of the General Assembly to educate them on the way this bill would force Christians to disavow the tenants of our faith and affirm views that violate our faith. We continue to need you to reach out to your members to express your opposition to this bill. Click here to see what you can do to help oppose this bill.
- The Ohio Criminal Justice Committee heard opponent testimony on Senate Bill 145. The bill was introduced by Senator Matt Huffman (R-Lima) and would ban a procedure called “D&E abortion” that rips babies’ bodies apart piece-by-piece. The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that the state may ban D&X abortions, which are the same as D&E abortions, except that the fetal demise occurs outside the uterus in a D&X (hence, it is called a “partial birth abortion”). Multiple pro-choice groups testified against the bill, arguing that the procedure should remain legal.
- This week, Representative Bill Reineke (R-Tiffin) introduced House Bill 512 which would consolidate the Department of Higher Education, the Board of Regents (which oversees college education), and the Office of Workforce Transformation into a new agency that would be called the Department of Learning and Achievement. The State School Board would be become more controlled by the Governor directly. The bill is supported by House leadership and Governor John Kasich. The teacher’s union, the Ohio Education Association, spoke out against the bill yesterday. Speaker of the House Clifford Rosenberger (R-Clarksville) says he would like to have the full House pass the bill before the summer. Meanwhile, Senate Education Committee Chairman Peggy Lehner (R-Kettering) and Senate Finance Subcommittee on Higher Education Chairman Randy Gardner (R-Bowling Green) both expressed reservations about the bill. CCV has not taken a stance on the bill but we will be reviewing it and monitoring it.
- A lawsuit was filed this week by the ACLU to challenge the “Down Syndrome Non-discrimination Act,” House Bill 214, which became law recently. The bill was supported by CCV. The bill prohibits an abortion motivated solely by the likelihood that the baby has Down Syndrome.
- A week after the Supreme Court of Ohio ruled that abortion clinic Capital Care Network of Toledo had violated Ohio law by not having a proper transfer agreement with a hospital, the clinic may have procured a transfer agreement with ProMedica hospital in Toledo. Capital Care is a facility with a notorious history. It is under several investigations and owes over $40,000 to the state. We urge them to be very careful before doing business with this organization.
- The House Community & Family Advancement Committee heard testimony on House Bill 427 this week, a bill that would provide state funding for faith-based addiction treatment programs. Several church leaders testified in favor of the bill. The testimony urged the legislators to support their recovery ministries, which are absolutely essential to dealing with the drug epidemic in Ohio. Members were very receptive and a lot of questioned were asked. Overall, we think was a great experience for the witnesses and the members.
Please reach out to your member of the General Assembly to speak your mind about these bills and others that you care about. You can find your member here.