Legislative Roundup - 2006

by Marlene Johnson
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Federal Legislation

The Senate recently passed bill S.2349, which includes the Levin-Leiberman Amendment. This would impose new regulations on grassroots efforts to change public opinion by non-profit organizations (like Right to Life). Before such a group could contact the general public or its own members with information about legislation or other government action, they would have to fill out a bunch of paperwork for the government. These forms must be filed specified amounts of time before mailings or phone calls can be made. As these things sometimes happen quickly, in some cases this would mean that grassroots groups would be forbidden from telling their members about a proposed new law until after it had passed. Ohio Senator George Voinovich voted in favor of the bill. He is also expected to be part of the House-Senate conference committee that will write the final version of the law in May.

Jim DeMint (R-SC) has introduced S.511, RU-486 Suspension and Review Act in the U.S. Senate. This bill would suspend the distribution of RU-486, the “morning after” abortion drug. There are 11 co-sponsors, including Ohio Senator Mike DeWine, but not George Voinovich. The Food & Drug Administration is scheduling a workshop, tentatively starting May 11, to discuss pulling RU-486 from the market. You can contact the FDA at “www.fda.gov/comments.html”. Note the "select a topic" box near to top of the page. Using the arrow next to the box select "drug" (second option) and click go. An e-mail box will appear and you can type in your comments. Or call 1-888-462-6332.

S.51, The Unborn Child Pain Awareness legislation has still not been brought to a vote. This bill would require abortionists to give their “patients” information about the pain that a child experiences during an abortion. DeWine and Voinovich are both co-sponsors. The House version, HR 356, has over 122 co-sponsors, not including Rep. David Hobson.

Ohio Legislation

H.B.287 would prevent "Wrongful Birth" and "Wrongful Life" lawsuits in Ohio. In a “wrongful birth” suit, a parent sues a doctor for failing to tell her that her child had a birth defect that might have led her to have him aborted, and seeks to force the doctor to pay all the costs of raising this child. “Wrongful life” is similar, but is brought by the child himself, arguing that the doctor should have to compensate him for the hardship he faces by being alive. (Note: This was an amendment to a bill that is primarily about exempting Amish midwives from some of the regulations applied to hospitals.) The bill has passed the Senate and is awaiting action in the House.

The Cord Blood Donation Program Bill, introduced by Rep.Mike Gilb (R-Findlay) , would require the Ohio Director of Health to establish a Cord Blood Donation Program in Ohio. Pres. Bush has already signed legislation to fund Federal Cord Blood banks and to assist States in their establishment. The bill is awaiting action in the House and has not even been introduced in the Senate.

H.B. 239, Prefer Childbirth over Abortion Bill, is designed to keep tax dollars from being used for abortions. Portions of the bill have been included in the budget reconciliations bill Gov. Taft signed. These were to permanently codify both current "women's health services" budget language that de-funded Planned Parenthood and current administrative requirements for abortion reporting, which is important in monitoring the scope of abortions in Ohio. There is still much in the bill that has not been passed in terms of subsidizing abortions and keeping Government funded hospitals from performing abortions.

Other states

At least five states now have proposed legislation that would severely limit or altogether ban abortion: Georgia, Indiana, Ohio, South Dakota and Tennessee. Rep. Tom Brinkman introduced the Ohio bill, HB 228, in April of 2005. The bill is now assigned to the Health Committee and is awaiting hearings promised by House Speaker John Husted. Rep. Hustead has told the press "it's dead", but Brinkman says that hearings are scheduled. Ohio Right to Life is not supporting this bill.


Sources

  1. Dayton Right to Life
  2. Cincinnati Right to Life
  3. Center for Bio-Ethical Reform-Midwest
  4. Religious Freedom Coalition
  5. Steve Elliot

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Posted 14 May 2006

Copyright 2006 by Greene County Right to Life
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