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Anti-abortion forces suffered a major loss in Ohio yesterday--major enough to merit a repost from yesterday.  Religious right activist Janet Porter has spent most of the last two years trying to get the Ohio General Assembly to pass a bill that would make abortion illegal the minute a fetus' heartbeat could be detected--as early as six weeks in some cases, before a woman knows she's pregnant.  If it passed, it would have effectively outlawed abortion in Ohio.  Since the Republicans pretty much own the state legislature due to the disaster of 2010, it should have easily passed, right?  Well, not exactly.  The bill passed the state house, but it stalled in the state senate due to concerns that it would be DOA in court.  Even the Ohio Right to Life Society and the National Right to Life Committee opposed this bill, calling it too extreme.

Now there's no chance of it passing this year, as state senate president Tom Niehaus announced it won't be brought up for a vote.

In a strongly worded letter to “fellow pro-life Ohioan(s),” Niehaus said the bill was flawed and slammed supporters for questioning the commitment of majority Republicans in the Senate to ending abortion.

“Unfortunately, leaders of an organization called Faith2Action have made exaggerated and inflammatory statements...their claim that we ‘lose more than a school bus full of children every day’ due to a lack of Senate action on the bill is simply false, and I will not continue to allow this organization to question the commitment of my colleagues to ending the scourge of abortion,” Niehaus wrote.

Niehaus was referring to the bully-boy tactics used by the Porter organization.  She not only brought in a bunch of fundie preachers (many of whom have ties to the New Apostolic Reformation) to pressure the senate into voting, but even took out ads threatening to primary any Repub who votes against the bill.  Another factor was that even the bill's supporters admit it'll be tied up for years in court.

Apparently Porter's people aren't giving up--according to the official site supporting the heartbeat bill, they're planning a rally at the Ohio State House on May 19.  The bill also has some pretty powerful supporters--apparently Josh Mandel, the leading Republican candidate for Senate, supports it, as do George Voinovich, James Dobson, Tony Perkins and Jim Garlow.  But from the looks of it, this bill is dead--at least for this year.

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