Our Position on Incremental Legislation:

     Many pro-life advocates disagree about whether or not to support pro-life legislation which does not completely ban all abortion, but instead provides some incremental approach to limiting abortion.  The reality is that we are doing both.  The decisions of the United State Supreme Court to make abortion legal through the Roe v Wade ruling in 1973 and subsequent rulings since make it impossible for states to ban abortion completely since it took it out of the jurisdiction of the states to do anything but regulate the practice of abortion, and allows them to ban it only after the point of viability in an unborn child's gestation (roughly starting at 20 weeks).  There have been many attempts to overturn the Roe v Wade and subsequent decisions, but the current makeup of the Supreme Court has prevented these attempts from being successful.

     Right to Life of Northeast Ohio is selective in the pro-life legislation that we do support. We WILL NOT support any incremental legislation that will ban or place limits on abortion if it has exceptions in it for the children conceived through rape or incest, or exceptions for children with fetal abnormalities/disabilities (such as the national Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act). In those cases, we push for the removal of the exception language.

     We do recognize that all incremental legislation is flawed in that it does not save the lives of the unborn before 20 weeks, and this is heartbreaking.  At the same time, we strongly disagree with those who state that incremental legislation is only regulating the murder of unborn children. We KNOW that incremental legislation that we have supported has saved lives, and it has lessened a portion of the evils or harmful effects of that standing unjust law that is legal abortion.  We have listened and disagree with those who say that incremental legislation is unprincipled and against God's law, because we have seen those lives who God has helped us to save because of the incremental legislation.  We believe that EVERY child has a God given right to life, and we cannot stand by and let them ALL die when we know that we can save some of them while we are hard at work trying to save them all.

"Passing incremental legislation often represents the most sensible approach to dealing with poorly crafted or morally problematic pieces of legislation. In the absence of needed votes to overturn harmful legislation altogether, it is still possible to make significant progress in limiting the damage that these laws can do through the patient spadework of incremental legislative revision. This is done with an eye towards one day being able to rescind or abrogate the unjust law altogether."    Fr. Tad  Pacholczyk, Ph.D    (To read the full article where this statement was made, click here.)

    The other reality is that legislation is only a small part of our mission at Right to Life of Northeast Ohio.  By IRS non-profit rules and regulations, we are limited in the amount of time, energy and money that we are permitted to spend on political or legislative activities.  Because of this, we are very selective in what prospective legislation we will support, and choose to spend any limited funds and time only on legislation which we are certain according to our legal expert's opinion can survive a court challenge. (SPECIAL NOTE:  Should a law pass in Ohio and be challenged, the Ohio Attorney General is obliged to defend the law in court, which can be very expensive.  Should the law NOT survive the challenge, the state very often must pay the legal costs of the challenge to the opposing side, thereby giving money to the pro-abortion side.) We choose to remain neutral on any legislation which we believe cannot withstand a court challenge in order to preserve our resources for other legislation.  Our main focus is on education and advocacy in order to bring about a positive change to the culture of life.  We believe that we must change the hearts and minds of abortion minded individuals through these education and advocacy efforts so that even if we are unsuccessful in our legislative efforts, we will be successful in helping to change the culture so that people will understand the evil of abortion and all other threats to human life and that abortion clinics will close because there will be no customers.  This is where the bulk of our time and energy goes, and where we have seen the most positive changes occurring with our mission.

     The following is a list of some of the legislation we are watching being considered both in the Ohio and national legislatures:

    

 

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 STATE OF OHIO

The following are some of the legislative initiatives or prospective legislation affecting pro-life advocacy being considered by the state government during the 132nd general assembly: 

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ABORTION TRAFFICKING PREVENTION ACT —  HB149 would prohibit fetal tissue trafficking. Federal law currently bans this practice, but a loophole allows tissue traffickers to compensate abortion clinics for services related to the trafficking of fetal tissue, including storage and transportation. This bill would make the exchange of any form of compensation for fetal tissue or organs illegal, and would make the activity a fourth degree felony. This bill is currently in the House Health committee.  Right to Life of Northeast Ohio supports this bill.   To read the testimony of RTLNEO Executive Director Denise Leipold in support of this bill, click here.

UNBORN CHILD DIGNITY ACT —  SB28 requires that aborted fetal remains be treated humanely following an abortion. The legislation is two-pronged. The first part requires that aborted children's remains be either given earthly burial or cremation. The second part is Unborn Dignity Informed Consent, which increases informed consent by requiring full disclosure to women pursuing abortions of their options for the aborted baby's treatment. This bill is currently in the Senate Government Oversight & Reform committee.  Right to Life of Northeast Ohio supports this bill.

PREGNANCY AND PARENTING SUPPORT PROGRAM —  This program is part of the biennial 2018/2019 state budget and provides funding to life-affirming pregnancy help centers in Ohio.  The program first started in 2013, and in 2015 the Ohio General Assembly chose to double the funding from the previous budget cycle to $1 million.  We are asking to maintain this funding in the 2018/2019 biennial budget.  Right to Life of Northeast Ohio supports this program.

DISMEMBERMENT ABORTION BAN —  SB145 prohibits dilation and evacuation abortions, a procedure in which the abortionist first dilates the woman’s cervix and then uses steel instruments to dismember and extract the baby from the uterus. The D&E abortion procedure is usually performed between thirteen and twenty-four weeks LMP.  This legislation builds on the precedent set by the Supreme Court ten years ago in the famous case on partial-birth abortion, Gonzales v. Carhart. Like partial-birth abortion, dismemberment abortion is a brutal procedure which literally rips the child apart limb from limb. In Carhart, the Supreme Court said, "No one would dispute that, for many, D & E is a procedure itself laden with the power to devalue human life.” This bill is now in the senate Judiciary Committee. CLICK HERE to read RTLNEO Executive Director Denise Leipold's testimony on the bill.  Right to Life of Northeast Ohio supports this bill.

DOWN SYNDROME NON-DISCRIMINATION ACT —  HB214 will prohibit an abortion from being performed on an unborn child on the basis of that child having Down syndrome.  Currently, about 90 percent of babies diagnosed with Down syndrome are aborted. Women abort after a prenatal diagnosis of Down syndrome because of the perceived parenting burden and perceived quality of life of children with Down syndrome, and many are unlikely to receive the support they need to see their pregnancies through to birth. This bill is currently in the house Health Committee.   Right to Life of Northeast Ohio supports this bill.

CLINIC PROTECTION ACT —  HB234 would criminalize impeding access to reproductive health care and to create a cause of action for harassment or intimidation of one or more employees of a health care facility.  This bill is an effort to criminalize behavior that might simply annoy someone working at, owning, or seeking care at a “reproductive services” (ABORTION) clinic.  It seeks to stop peaceful, pro-life exercise of the first amendment rights to speech and freedom of religion - behavior guaranteed by the US and Ohio constitutions. This bill is currently in the house Criminal Justice Committee.   Right to Life of Northeast Ohio opposes this bill.

 

HEARTBEAT BILL HB69  is a re-introduction of a previous version.  It would generally prohibit an abortion of an unborn human individual with a detectable heartbeat and would create the Joint Legislative Committee on Adoption Promotion and Support. This bill passed the House on 3/25/15 and moved to the senate where it did not progress.  In December, a heartbeat amendment was added to HB493, a child abuse reporting bill.  The entire bill passed the house but because the heartbeat amendment was subject to a line item veto because of the bill containing budget appropriations, it was vetoed by the governor.  This was probably due to the probable unconstitutionality of the bill since it defies a very immoral and horrible federal law and stood little chance of being enacted or upheld by the courts. No heartbeat legislation passed in other states has been able to survive a court challenge.  Right to Life of Northeast Ohio remains neutral on this billFor more detailed information, please contact RTLNEO Executive Director Denise Leipold.

 

 

The following legislation is currently being drafted by various organizations and sponsors, but has not yet been introduced:

 

ABORTION INDUCING DRUGS SAFETY ACT — This legislation would require abortion-inducing drugs to be administered in accordance with “the protocol tested and authorized by the United States Food and Drug Administration as outlined in the final printed label of the abortion-inducing drug.” Texas passed a similar law in 2013, and it has been upheld by the federal courts. Currently, Mifeprex (mifepristone) is the only such drug labeled for the purpose of inducing abortion in the United States. Although the combination of mifepristone and misoprostol is still the most common drug regimen used in chemical abortions, Ohio has seen a significant increase in the number of chemical abortions using other drugs like methotrexate, a drug labeled for use as a chemotherapy agent.  Because there should be no room for compromise when administering drugs out of context that can be and are harmful to a woman's health, Right to Life of Northeast Ohio supports this bill.

 

 

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FEDERAL

 

The following are some of the legislative initiatives or prospective legislation affecting pro-life advocacy being considered by the federal government during the 115th congress:

 
PAIN CAPABLE UNBORN CHILD PROTECTION ACT —  HR36  would prohibit abortion after 20 weeks from fertilization in order to protect pain-capable unborn children from excruciating deaths. There are exceptions when abortion is necessary to save the life of the mother or to avert a serious risk of substantial and irreversible impairment of a major bodily function. THIS BILL HAS EXCEPTIONS FOR RAPE AND INCEST.   This bill is the same as one passed by the house during the 114th congress that failed to obtain the necessary votes to pass the Senate.  The bill is currently in a House Judiciary subcommittee.  Right to Life of Northeast Ohio does not actively support this bill unless the rape and incest exceptions are removed. To read the Executive Director of Right to Life of Northeast Ohio's commentary on this bill, CLICK HERE.
NO TAXPAYER FUNDING FOR ABORTION/ABORTION FULL DISCLOSURE ACT —  HR7/S184   makes permanent the prohibition on the use of federal funds, including funds in the budget of the District of Columbia, for abortion or health coverage that includes abortion. The prohibitions in this bill, and current prohibitions, do not apply to abortions in cases of rape or incest, or where a physical condition endangers a woman's life unless an abortion is performed.   HR7 is currently in a House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution and Civil Justice; S184 is currently in the Senate Finance Committee.  Right to Life of Northeast Ohio does not actively support this bill unless the rape and incest exceptions are removed.
LIFE AT CONCEPTION ACT —  HR681/S231   declares that the right to life guaranteed by the Constitution is vested in each human being at all stages of life, including the moment of fertilization, cloning, or other moment at which an individual comes into being. Nothing in this bill shall be construed to authorize the prosecution of any woman for the death of her unborn child. The senate version adds a further statement that says the bill does not include a prohibition on invitro fertilization, or a prohibition on use of birth control or another means of preventing fertilization.   HR681 is currently in a House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution and Civil Justice; S231 is currently in the Senate Judiciary Committee.  Right to Life of Northeast Ohio supports only HR681, the house version of the act.
SANCTITY OF HUMAN LIFE ACT —  HR586  states that the right to life guaranteed by the Constitution is vested in each human being, and is the paramount and most fundamental right of a person; and the life of each human being begins with fertilization, cloning, or its functional equivalent, irrespective of sex, health, function or disability, defect, stage of biological development, or condition of dependency, at which time every human being shall have all the legal and constitutional attributes and privileges of personhood; and the Congress affirms that the Congress, each State, the District of Columbia, and all United States territories have the authority to protect the lives of all human beings residing in its respective jurisdictions.   HR681 is currently in a House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution and Civil Justice. While this bill has no exceptions for rape and incest, there is some concern about the bill's wording, especially the words "functional equivalent". Right to Life of Northeast Ohio prefers to support HR681 rather than this bill.
PROTECTING LIFE AND TAXPAYERS ACT —  HR853   requires federally funded entities to certify that they will not perform, and will not provide funds to any other entity that performs, an abortion, except in cases of rape or incest or where a physical condition endangers the woman's life unless an abortion is performed. This applies to a hospital only if the hospital funds a non-hospital entity that performs abortions.  This bill is currently in the House Committee on Energy and Commerce. Right to Life of Northeast Ohio does not actively support this bill unless the rape and incest exceptions are removed.
TITLE X ABORTION PROVIDER PROHIBITION ACT —  HR217  prohibits family grants from being awarded to any entity that performs abortions, and for other purposes. THIS BILL HAS EXCEPTIONS FOR RAPE AND INCEST. HR217 is currently in the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health. Right to Life of Northeast Ohio does not actively support this bill unless the rape and incest exceptions are removed.

DEFUND PLANNED PARENTHOOD ACT —  HR354 prohibits, for a one-year period, the availability of federal funds for any purpose to Planned Parenthood Federation of America, Inc., or any of its affiliates or clinics, unless they certify that the affiliates and clinics will not perform, and will not provide any funds to any other entity that performs, an abortion during such period. This restriction does not apply in cases of rape or incest or where a physical condition endangers a woman's life unless an abortion is performed.  HR354 is currently in the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health. Right to Life of Northeast Ohio does not actively support this bill unless the rape and incest exceptions are removed.

PROTECT FUNDING FOR WOMEN'S HEALTH CARE ACT —  S241 prohibits federal funding of Planned Parenthood Federation of America or its affiliates, subsidiaries, successors, or clinics. It further states that State and county health departments, community health centers, hospitals, physicians offices, and other entities currently provide, and will continue to provide, health services to women. Such health services include relevant diagnostic laboratory and radiology services, well-child care, prenatal and postpartum care, immunization, family planning services including contraception, sexually transmitted disease testing, cervical and breast cancer screenings, and referrals.  Many such entities provide services to all persons, regardless of the person’s ability to pay, and provide services in medically underserved areas and to medically underserved populations. All funds no longer available to Planned Parenthood will continue to be made available to other eligible entities to provide women’s health care services. HR241 is currently in the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions. Right to Life of Northeast Ohio supports this bill.

PRENATAL NONDISCRIMINATION ACT (PRENDA)—  HR147  imposes criminal penalties on anyone who knowingly or knowingly attempts to: (1) perform an abortion knowing that the abortion is sought based on the sex, gender, color or race of the child, or the race of a parent; (2) use force or the threat of force to intentionally injure or intimidate any person for the purpose of coercing a sex-selection or race-selection abortion; (3) solicit or accept funds for the performance of such an abortion; or (4) transport a woman into the United States or across a state line for the purpose of obtaining such an abortion.  HR354 is currently in the House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution and Civil Justice. Right to Life of Northeast Ohio supports this bill.

 

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