This week, one of Ohio’s top lawmakers announced that the state Senate will not attempt to push through two pieces of restrictive abortion legislation during this session, including a “heartbeat” bill that would have represented the most stringent abortion ban in the nation. Arizona’s 20-week abortion ban currently earns the dubious distinction of being the country’s toughest abortion restriction, but Ohio’s bill would have moved the goalposts even further by seeking to outlaw the procedure as soon as a fetal heartbeat can be detected — which can occur as early as 6 weeks, before many women even realize they’re pregnant.
Ohio Senate Speaker Tom Niehaus (R) acknowledged on Tuesday that the heartbeat measure is too controversial to reach consensus even among anti-choice groups, and he wants to hold off on a vote this year so that abortion opponents can come to an agreement on the bill. But that’s not good enough for some of the right-wing activists in the state, who are still demanding that Republicans find a way to jam the legislation through:
Janet Folger Porter, president of the conservative action group Faith2Action, said she’ll work to collect 17 Republican signatures on a discharge petition, which can be used to force the so-called “heartbeat bill” out of a committee.
“Unless pro-lifers want to hold signs and march for 40 more years, they should pick up the phone and call every Republican senator and demand a floor vote for the Heartbeat Bill before their inaction kills it,” Porter said in a statement. “These Republicans have the power to bring the Heartbeat Bill to a vote before it dies.”
Even though Republicans haven’t seen much recent success with radical abortion initiatives — voters largely rejected anti-choice legislation on November 6, as well as the anti-choice candidates who sparked controversy with their campaigns’ focuses on restricting abortion access — Faith2Action isn’t the only far-right group clinging to a failing agenda.
Anti-abortion groups like Personhood USA and the Susan B. Anthony List are still busy pressuring lawmakers to continue supporting legislation to limit women’s reproductive access, and conservative lawmakers in states like Arkansas are already gearing up to advance that type of agenda next year. And when former GOP presidential candidate Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) recently suggested that Republicans might want to reconsider their focus on limiting abortion rights in order to build a broader coalition, spokespeople for the two groups harshly criticized him for betraying the party’s mission.