Our Position On Legislation
Many pro-life advocates disagree about whether or not to support pro-life legislation which does not completely ban all abortion, but instead provides some incremental approach to limiting abortion. The reality is that we are doing both. The decisions of the United State Supreme Court to make abortion legal through the Roe v Wade ruling in 1973 and subsequent rulings since made it impossible for states to ban abortion completely since it took it out of the jurisdiction of the states to do anything but regulate the practice of abortion, and allows them to ban it only after the point of viability in an unborn child’s gestation (roughly starting at 20 weeks). Roe v Wade was overturned by the Dobbs v Jackson decision on June 24, 2022. With this decision, the ability to decide the legality of abortion has returned to the control of the individual states. Most states are now in the process of determining either through legislative or ballot initiatives on whether or not abortion will be legal in that state. In Ohio, abortion was legal prior to Roe v Wade and remained legal after the Dobbs decision. However, the incremental Heartbeat Bill that had been enjoined by the courts after its passage under Roe v Wade went into effect almost immediately after the Dobbs decision, and abortion became illegal after the detection of a fetal heartbeat. Several months after this, a Cincinnati judge issued an injunction against the Heartbeat Bill which at present has not been overturned,
Right to Life of Northeast Ohio is selective in the pro-life legislation that we do support. We WILL NOT support any legislation that will ban or place limits on abortion if it has exceptions in it for the children conceived through rape or incest, or exceptions for children with fetal abnormalities/disabilities (such as the national Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act). In those cases, we push for the removal of the exception language.
The other reality is that legislation is only a small part of our mission at Right to Life of Northeast Ohio. By IRS non-profit rules and regulations, we are limited in the amount of time, energy and money that we are permitted to spend on political or legislative activities. Because of this, we are very selective in what prospective legislation we will support, and choose to spend any limited funds and time only on legislation which we are certain according to our legal expert’s opinion can survive a court challenge. (SPECIAL NOTE: Should a law pass in Ohio and be challenged, the Ohio Attorney General is obliged to defend the law in court, which can be very expensive. Should the law NOT survive the challenge, the state very often must pay the legal costs of the challenge to the opposing side, thereby giving money to the pro-abortion side.) We choose to remain neutral on any legislation which we believe cannot withstand a court challenge in order to preserve our resources for other legislation. Our main focus is on education and advocacy in order to bring about a positive change to the culture of life. We believe that we must change the hearts and minds of abortion minded individuals through these education and advocacy efforts so that even if we are unsuccessful in our legislative efforts, we will be successful in helping to change the culture so that people will understand the evil of abortion and all other threats to human life and that abortion clinics will close because there will be no customers. This is where the bulk of our time and energy goes, and where we have seen the most positive changes occurring with our mission.