Bachmann, Gingrich announce support for Ohio anti-abortion heartbeat bill
Image has not been found. URL: http://images.americanindependent.com/2010/08/MahurinElephant_Thumb.jpgAn Ohio anti-abortion-rights bill that would outlaw terminating a pregnancy once a fetal heartbeat can be detected is gaining momentum, if its newest group of supporters is any indication. Michele Bachmann and Newt Gingrich have joined their fellow presidential hopeful Mike Huckabee in throwing their weight behind the so-called “heartbeat bill.”
Bachmann and Gingrich were joined by two other high-profile endorsers of the bill: Planned Parenthood clinic-director-turned-anti-abortion-rights activist Abby Johnson, as well as by James Dobson, head of Focus on the Family, an evangelical Christian network of non-profits and think tanks whose primary function in recent years has been opposing abortion and same-sex marriage. The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) classifies Focus on the Family as an anti-gay group.
The bill has already passed the House Health and Aging Committee and is awaiting a vote on the floor of the House. It has 50 co-sponsors, enough to pass in the 99-member Ohio House even if every other representative votes against it. Like the House, the Ohio Senate is Republican-controlled, and Ohio Republican Gov. John Kasich had a consistent anti-abortion-rights voting record as a U.S. representative before becoming governor.
The bill’s opponents say that it would effectively ban abortion in Ohio, because a functional heart begins to form within the first four weeks of fetal development. This would leave virtually no time for a woman to discover that she is pregnant before abortion is no longer an option.
While the bill was introduced in the legislature by Rep. Lynn Wachtmann (R-Napoleon), its most outspoken mouthpiece has been Janet Porter, a radio personality and activist for social conservativism. Presumably, Porter’s organization, Faith2Action, had a hand in crafting the bill, as she knew about it more than a month before it was introduced in the Ohio House. In a high-profile stunt, Porter arranged for a fetus to “testify” before a March public hearing on the bill. The “testimony” came in the form of an ultrasound image highlighting the fetal heartbeat.
As People for the American Way, a liberal watchdog group that monitors right-wing and conservative Christian organizations, has pointed out, Porter is a hardline conservative who said ahead of the 2008 election that anyone voting for Obama would be disobeying God and dooming themselves to spend eternity in hell. Porter was also a major figure in the birther movement as early as the 2008 election cycle. At the time, she suggested that Obama might be an illegal immigrant. More recently, she called Obama and other Democratic leaders “evil” and “drunk with power” and said that they “rape and pillage the American people.”
The American Independent’s Sofia Resnick previously reported on Porter’s proud defense of her group’s tactic of using every possible legislative loophole to undermine the Roe v. Wade decision. At an April conference for evangelical Christians and social conservatives, she argued for adoption as a viable alternative to abortion for pregnant women unable or unprepared to raise children. At the time, Porter said she “would love to adopt,” but that she was waiting on God’s advice on the matter.