This article was originally posted as an op-ed at the Cincinnati Enquirer here.
Abortion has been at the forefront of the national debate recently as states embrace divergent paths forward. On the one hand, New York and Virginia have sought to enact extreme abortion laws legalizing abortions for nearly any reason up until the moment of birth. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo recently lit up the spire of One World Trade Center in pink, announcing that New Yorkers should "celebrate" late-term abortions.
Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam’s comments regarding legislation that would essentially legalize infanticide shocked the conscience of America. The Virginia legislation rightfully failed in committee, yet many Democrats voted to advance it. Rhode Island recently introduced similar legislation, which removes all protections for the unborn, including unborn victims of violent attacks against the mother.
Ohio, on the other hand, has been traveling down a vastly different path. In the past eight years, Ohio has seen incredible pro-life progress. Abortions are down 25 percent, half of the state’s abortion facilities have been shuttered and 21 pro-life initiatives have been signed into law. We’ve seen more funding for life-affirming pregnancy centers, which offer women the support and resources they need to choose life or make an adoption plan. We’ve seen major adoption reform and the increase of the adoption tax credit.
In 2016, Ohio passed the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act which protects babies from abortion at the point where it is scientifically proven that they can feel pain. Last year, Ohio Right to Life passed the Dismemberment Abortion Ban, which bans a particularly grotesque procedure in which a living, unborn child is dismembered in the womb. And now, Ohio is ready to pass the Heartbeat Bill which protects babies with a detectable beating heart.
In 1973, the Roe v. Wade decision established a so-called viability standard claiming that states had a compelling interest in restricting or prohibiting abortion from the point an unborn child was considered viable. Sadly, the Supreme Court determined that viability was roughly 24 weeks into a pregnancy. Today’s medical advancements and technology have far surpassed that archaic standard and babies survive being born well before 24 weeks. In fact, once a baby’s cardiac activity can be detected, he or she has more than a 95 percent chance of surviving to full term.
It is far past time that Ohio challenges this ancient viability standard. As Sen. Kristina Roegner (R-Hudson) stated in her sponsor testimony of the heartbeat bill, "the presence of a heartbeat is a universally recognized indicator of life." This logical and reasonable standard ensures the protection of those who cannot protect themselves.
The state of Ohio can demonstrate to the nation, yet again, that we can prioritize the health and well-being of both the mother and her unborn child. We have consistently proven that it is possible to compassionately care for both.
Ohio will not walk the path of New York or Virginia, because we refuse to go back to abortion-on-demand.
Ohio has proven itself to be a pro-life state time and time again, through both our legislative accomplishments and our electoral process. With pro-life Gov. Mike DeWine serving our state on the heels of former Gov. John Kasich’s pro-life administration, Ohio will witness an increase in protections and resources for women and children. Gov. DeWine proudly supports the heartbeat bill, and he believes in protecting our greatest resource – Ohio’s children. You can bet that Gov. Cuomo and Gov. Northam are not on board with that.
Michael Gonidakis is president of Ohio Right to Life.