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Ohio Passes ‘Fetal Heartbeat’ Bill

Eschewing the approach taken by Tennessee’s Senate Judiciary Committee, the Ohio House of Representatives passed its own fetal heartbeat bill this week and the Ohio Senate, which had passed the bill in March, quickly approved changes made by the House. It has now been signed by the governor. The bill prohibits abortions after an unborn baby’s heartbeat is detectable, which is generally at about the sixth week of pregnancy.

“Since 1973, countless unborn children have lost their lives to abortion in Ohio. Thanks to the compassion and commitment of the Ohio General Assembly, the Buckeye state will end this atrocity,” said Aaron Baer, president of Citizens for Community Values, in a press release.

Naturally, pro-abortion groups threaten to fight back. NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio Executive Director Kellie Copeland suggests that gerrymandering allowed conservatives to capture the legislative seats necessary to pass bills such as this and, viewing that as an abuse of power, she stated, “We will work day and night to upend this attack on democracy to ensure that Ohio will once again have fair elections that result in elected officials that share our values and support reproductive freedom.”

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Catholic High School Fights for First Amendment Rights

The Lyceum, a Catholic classical high school in South Euclid, Ohio, is fighting for its First Amendment rights in a lawsuit challenging a sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI) non-discrimination ordinance passed by the South Euclid City Council in 2018 that does not include an exemption for religious or moral convictions.

The ordinance would severely impinge on the school’s faith-based beliefs about sexuality and marriage by potentially forcing the school to hire or enroll those who disagree with the school’s teachings. The school said it would rather close its doors than give in to this governmental meddling.

Administrators at The Lyceum attended several city council meetings trying to understand how the SOGI ordinance might affect the school but got no answers, so Alliance Defending Freedom filed a federal lawsuit on behalf of the school against the city challenging the constitutionality of the ordinance.

On its website, ADF notes, “Tolerance is a two-way street. Government officials are constitutionally bound to protect these freedoms even if their own personal beliefs about marriage and sexuality are different.”

Aaron Baer, president of Citizens for Community Values (CCV), a sister organization to FACT, said, “South Euclid passed one of the most offensive and egregious sexual orientation gender identity laws that I have ever seen, and Christian ministries across the country should take note of what these laws would mean to them.”

Ohio’s state legislature is currently considering state-level SOGI legislation called the Ohio Fairness Act.

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6th Circuit Allows Ohio to Deny Funds to Planned Parenthood

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit ruled Tuesday that Ohio can deny funds to Planned Parenthood or other entities that perform abortions.

The full appeals court, overturning a decision of a three-member panel of the court, ruled 11-6 that the ban does not pose an undue burden on a woman’s right to an abortion and that Planned Parenthood affiliates do not have a constitutional right to perform abortions. The essence of the ruling is that states have the discretion to decide who gets public funding and there is no right to perform abortions.

Of the 11 judges on the panel, four were hand-selected by Trump, while the six dissenting judges were appointed by Democratic presidents.

The 6th Circuit covers Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio, and Tennessee. Consequently, and happily, the ruling is controlling in Tennessee.

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Ohio Considers Ban on Down Syndrome Abortions

Stirred by CBS News’ report that Iceland was eradicting Down Syndrome through abortion, Ohio Republican lawmakers are considering a bill that would prevent abortions in women who test positive for Down syndrome. “A lot of people with Down syndrome go on to live happy, healthy, and otherwise normal lives, and to terminate a pregnancy for that reason alone is problematic,” Ohio’s Sen. Frank LaRose, the bill’s Senate sponsor, said.

The bill would charge doctors who perform abortions after a Down syndrome diagnosis with a felony, strip those doctors of their medical licenses, and hold them liable for legal damages. The pregnant women carrying the Down syndrome babies would not be charged for any crimes.

While pro-life advocates are in support of the measure, some doctors and medical students are fighting the measure because they believe it destroys the doctor-patient bond of trust. Indiana and North Dakota have passed laws similar to the one pending in Ohio.

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