Anti-abortion advocates are continuing their fight to make Ohio the first state in the country with a “heartbeat” law, which would outlaw abortion as soon as a fetal heartbeat can be detected. This often happens so early on — six or seven weeks into a pregnancy — that the woman doesn’t even know she’s pregnant. There is no exception for rape, incest, or mental health.
Last June the Ohio House passed the bill, which has been called the “the most restrictive anti-abortion law in the nation,” but it has been stalled in the Senate since November.
But backers of the legislation have found a novel way of wooing lawmakers who are on the fence. They’re enlisting the help of children to deliver teddy bears with heartbeats to Senate offices:
Special deliveries were made to 33 Senate offices Tuesday as part of a new push to pass the controversial heartbeat bill in the Senate. [...]
A very active pro-life lobby returned with a renewed push for a vote in the Senate. Advocates used children delivering teddy bears with audible heartbeats to Senate offices to send the message that they want the Senate to take up the bill as soon as possible.
The group added that they’re confident they have the votes they need.
This is not the first time bill supporters have resorted to tawdry antics to push their agenda. Last year activists recruited a nine-week-old fetus to “testify” to the House Health Committee via sonogram. Several months later, when the bill was before the state senate, Republicans brought in the then-nine-week-old baby to act as a “silent witness.”
This latest gambit is equally shameless, using the children as props as much the teddy bears themselves.
The heartbeat bill is so extreme that it has actually divided the anti-abortion community in Ohio. Ohio Right to Life has withheld its support, arguing that the bill is “likely to backfire” and set back their cause. The blatantly unconstitutional legislation flouts the the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade ruling that forbids states from banning abortions until the fetus is viable, which is generally around 22 to 24 weeks.