Fri, 9 Dec 2011 14:56:07 -0500 (EST)
Source: Political Research Associates
A split over tactics in the anti-abortion movement is growing in Ohio where the state legislature is considering a bill that would ban abortions once a fetal heartbeat is detectable, usually about six to eight weeks into pregnancy. Like a recent unsuccessful "fetal personhood" ballot initiative in Mississippi that would have effectively banned all abortions, the Ohio legislation represents a bold departure from the incremental criminalization of abortion that has become a hallmark of the movement’s strategy.
"I was Mr. Incremental," said Dr. John C. Willke, former president of National Right to Life, of his career promoting modest restrictions to abortion. "But after nearly 40 years of abortion on demand, it’s time to take a bold step forward."
Ohio Right to Life and the state Catholic conference have refused to support the bill, arguing that the Supreme Court is not likely to endorse a frontal attack on Roe v. Wade. Ohio Right to Life’s position has prompted the defection of six county chapters and the launch of an alternative anti-abortion group.
"Step-by-step measures haven’t stopped the killing," said Linda J. Theis, president of Ohio ProLife Action. The new group has absorbed breakaway chapters of Ohio Right to Life. Officially, National Right to Life, the umbrella group for state chapters, has taken no position on the heartbeat bill or on the fracturing of the movement. Its national spokesman, Derrick Jones, said, "This isn’t really something we want to get into."