Joe Scheidler speaks at the Heartbeat Bill rally in Columbus, OH [Photo by Ann Scheidler]
Creative pro-life activists in Ohio came up with a new approach to ending most abortions. The Heartbeat Bill would make it illegal to perform an abortion after the heartbeat of an unborn baby is detected. The Ohio House passed the bill in the last session by a margin of 54 to 43, and the Senate, made up of 33 members, could pass the bill with 17 votes.
On September 20, 2011 Joe and I attended an up-beat, exciting and colorful rally at the Ohio State Capitol in Columbus, organized by Faith2Action. The occasion was an all out effort to convince the State Senate to pass the Heartbeat Bill. Joe was among the featured speakers addressing the crowd, as was Jill Stanek, also from Illinois.
The rally was to urge the crowd of more than four-hundred to encourage their senators to vote “yes” on HB 125. According to the experts, a heartbeat law could save 26,000 lives in Ohio each year. To add to the excitement in the packed Capitol Atrium, Janet Folger Porter, F2A president, rally MC and long-time pro-life leader, said she had it on good authority that Governor John Kasich will sign the bill into law if it comes to his desk.
Colorfull Rally for Pro-Life Bill
Janet set the tone of the rally with her own over-the-top enthusiasm and her obvious knowledge of the legislative process as well as her photographic memory of the names and positions of everyone in the Ohio legislature—and most of the people in the room.
The theme was hearts and the color was red. Everyone had been advised to wear red and they took the advice to heart. Most of the men wore red ties and heart pins, while the women speakers and most of the crowd wore red sweaters, red jackets, and Janet was dressed all in red. I wore a red sweater and Jill Stanek wore a red Face the Truth shirt.
There were hearts everywhere—in bunches of small hearts in white vases surrounding the speakers’ platform, heart-shaped red balloons floating overhead, red paper bags of information handed to those attending, and even trays of heart-shaped cookies sprinkled with red sugar.
Besides two dozen legislators who spoke about the Heartbeat Bill, guest speakers were Dr. Jack Willke of Ohio Right to Life, Troy Newman of Operation Rescue, Wendy Wright, former head of Concerned Women of America, and many, many others.
Some called this “the most important pro-life rally of our time.” The bill’s passage could save between 96 and 99 percent of babies slated for abortion in Ohio. And there are at least seventeen other states in which pro-lifers are watching this bill, hoping it will pass so that they can introduce it to their own legislators.
“With God, All Things Are Possible”
Repeated many times throughout the day was the Ohio state motto: “With God, all things are possible.” That motto is at the heart of the Heartbeat Bill.
The Heartbeat Bill, like many other legislative approaches to curtailing abortion, is not without controversy. Ohio Right to Life, an affiliate of National Right to Life, has declined to endorse the measure, and several chapters of the state organization have withdrawn from Ohio Right to Life.
Ohio Right to Life is advocating bills in all 50 states that would require women to see and hear the fetal heartbeat before agreeing to an abortion, but would not ban the procedure. Ohio supporters of the heartbeat legislation have formed Ohio ProLife Action to promote the Heartbeat legislation and encourage other states to follow suit.
On December 7, the Ohio Senate began hearings on the Heartbeat Bill, including an appearance by Baby Hallie Glockner, whose steady fetal heartbeat had been shown during hearings in the House. Hallie and her parents were there so the senators could see firsthand the natural course of events from fetal heartbeat to baby citizen. The Glockners hope to see all unborn babies in Ohio and everywhere protected from abortion.