Wednesday, January 9, 2013

"Two Years of Steps Forward in the Pro-Life Movement"

Guest Column from State Representative Jim Buchy

The issue of life remains paramount in this state. Governor Kasich and state leaders have made protecting and enhancing life an emphasis during the past two years. While our team worked to balance a budget that included an $8 billion hole and put Ohioans back to work, we continued to provide a focus on the issue of life concurrently. That focus was driven by the pro-life community, which has played a major role in Ohio government for the past two years.

Since 2000, when I left the Ohio Legislature because of term limits, the number of abortions in this state has decreased. In the coming years, we expect our state to enter a “culture of life,” meaning the dramatic decrease of abortions in Ohio.

Over the past two years, victories for Ohio’s unborn stacked up as we shortened the time and decreased the ability to get an abortion with legislation that will likely pass the test of the U.S. Supreme Court. Three bills that are now law are House Bill 63, House Bill 78, and House Bill 79.

  • House Bill 63 became law on February 2nd of this 2012. It strengthens Ohio’s law by requiring a “clear and convincing evidence” standard. Judges must specifically inquire about a minor’s understanding of the possible physical and emotional complications of an abortion, and the judge must determine how much the minor has been prepared to respond to such questions.
  • House Bill 78, which is commonly called the Viable Infants Protection Act, became law on October 20, 2011. This bill prohibits abortion after 20 weeks, when the child is proved to be viable and can live outside the womb.
  • House Bill 79 was enacted March 22nd of 2012. This legislation would exclude abortion coverage from the state exchange created in the federal healthcare reform law. This responds to the provision in the federal health care law for an opt-out of abortion coverage.

Lately, news coverage of our pro-life efforts in Ohio has ignored the success of the three bills that we passed during this General Assembly. These are major accomplishments in the movement and show that our state legislature and governor are dedicated to the issue of life. There is no movement away from this important issue—one more important than ever. As leaders we must make a point to continue addressing the issue of life.

In the next General Assembly, I am interested in continuing work to save lives of the unborn. Two high-profile bills that did not become law in the 129th General Assembly are House Bill 125, the “Heartbeat Bill,” and House Bill 298, which would provide preference for state funding to health centers that do not promote abortions.

Both bills have drawn attention from the pro-life and pro-choice communities, because they are landmark movements and each one needs due consideration and proper vetting in the legislative process. I strongly support the reintroduction of these bills in this General Assembly. The pro-life community is united behind each of these measures and continues our work to make sure the legislation is accurate is important.

As we close the book on the 129thGeneral Assembly, members of the pro-life movement should feel accomplished. Their efforts have saved thousands of unborn lives, and we are in a position to save thousands more in the next two years.

In western Ohio, we value life, we value family, and most of all we value freedom. The freedom of the unborn is of the utmost importance. We must continue to stand up for those without a voice. With reapportionment my office email has changed to Please follow this quick URL to complete an online survey and give me your thoughts to guide priorities for the next General Assembly:

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