Editor's Note: With 33 days left until the presidential election, PolicyMic's Audrey Farber will be posting a daily update on the state of abortion rights in the U.S., covering legislative challenges to Roe v. Wade in all 50 states. So far, we've gotten updates on Florida, Georgia, D.C., South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Delaware, New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Maine and New Hampshire. Check back in every day to keep track!
Ohio's John Boehner (of Tumblr fame) is remarkably consistent in his pro-life views. But does the rest of the state agree with Boehner?
Home of House Speaker John “pro-life is who I am” Boehner, Ohio is still reeling over the “Heartbeat Bill” — passed by the Republican State House and denied by the Republican State Senate — which would make abortion illegal as soon as a fetal heartbeat could be detected, make no exception for rape, incest, or mental health, and permit abortion post-heartbeat only if there was an “imminent threat to [the woman’s] life.”
Not even anti-choice groups supported the bill: true Personhood-ers didn’t think it went far enough, and Ohio Right to Life thought it went too far. Heartbeat Bill proponents aren’t giving up, though, because they need to make sure there are no laws that contradict the Bible.
With Heartbeat dead in the water and restrictive abortion laws already in place — parental consent for minors, state-directed informed consent, a 24-hour waiting period, and restrictions on public funding — the battle over reproductive rights and electoral votes in Ohio is coming down to mudslinging money: more than $74 million in the fewer than six months. Women in Ohio favor the Democratic ticket by 10 points, so it’s bound to get dirty.
Planned Parenthood Votes spent $3.2 billion this month on ads in Virginia and Ohio, with the message that Romney would “turn back the clock for women.” On the flip side, there’s super PAC Republican Union PAC which has spent over a million dollars on anti-Obama (but not necessarily pro-Romney) billboards in swing states like Ohio: “Obama supports Gay Marriage & Abortion. Do you? VOTE REPUBLICAN.”
There’s also GING-PAC (Government is Not God), running ads in Ohio claiming Obama will “force Christian organization to pay for abortions” and “force police agencies to allow Muslim Brotherhood to select staff” (which, though irrelevant, is hilariously absurd). The group has backed Santorum and Akin, and doesn’t believe it needs evidence to back up its claims. Last week the Susan B. Anthony list spent $150,000 on ads describing Obama as an “abortion radical,” the same group who ran a religious abortion survivor ad during the DNC. Everyone is fighting for the female vote in Ohio.
If Ohio is unpredictable, so too are its Republican politicians.
The state GOP chair, Bob Bennett, believes “government shouldn’t be making those choices for anybody,” it’s just a matter of who is paying. But then there’s State Representative Jim Buchy who, despite voting to prohibit insurance companies from covering abortion and thinking abortion should be banned except to save the woman’s life, when asked why a woman might seek an abortion could only reply: “It’s a question I have never thought about.”
And my personal favorite, Marisha Agana, a Republican pediatrician running for the U.S. House of Representatives in District 13, who lost the support of the Ohio State Medical Association PAC for tweeting “the Blood of thousands of unborn children r in [Obama’s] hands,” and comparing him to Hitler, Stalin, and Mao. Then, on Facebook:
I put national leaders that believe in and support abortion into a special group of leaders who have either committed or supported genocide. Because of this and the position Mr. Barrack [sic] Hussain [sic] Obama has taken on abortion directly as well as...contraception and abortifacient drugs I...have included him on the list I tweeted about.
Then again, I guess she wasn’t talking about Obama after all, just some guy who has almost the same name.