Lawmakers in the Republican-con- trolled Ohio House and Senate are devoting a lot of time to measures designed to restrict abortion rights further. That they are not spending this time more productively on bills aimed at creating jobs and promoting economic growth suggests such matters are less urgent to them than pandering to single-issue extremists.
A bill on the House floor would prohibit abortion once a fetal heartbeat is detected, as early as six weeks after conception. Even factions of Ohio's anti-abortion movement say the legislation is so extreme it could jeopardize other "pro-life" initiatives.
The bill appears unconstitutional on its face, but its sponsors want to use it to force the U.S. Supreme Court to reconsider the 1973 Roe vs. Wade decision that upheld a constitutional right to abortion.
House Speaker William Batchelder (R., Medina) says the bill lacks "velocity." Yet he continues to allow his chamber to waste time on it.
Senate Republicans have passed a measure that would ban late-term abortions if a doctor determines fetal viability is possible after 20 weeks. That measure also would face an inevitable court challenge if it becomes law.
The Senate bill is marginally more responsible than the House measure in that it provides exceptions to protect the life and health of the mother. But such abortions already are so rare that its effect would be more symbolic than real.
And that seems to be the politicians' point. Rep. Lynn Wachtmann (R., Napoleon), the chief sponsor of the House bill, says last November's election "sent a new crew to Columbus, and we have a lot of work to do in many areas."
But Ohio voters made clear they hired the new crew to work on improving the state's economy and employment climate. What they got, in the accurate description of Kellie Copeland, executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio, was "a bait-and-switch, pure and simple."-23.55141 -46.64422