Porter’s ‘Heartbeat Bill’ Stopped Dead in Ohio

Back in 2010, Janet Porter’s world was thrown into chaos after her flagship radio program was dropped by VCY America due to her increasing involvement with Dominion Theology and partnership with leaders within the New Apostolic Reformation.

Considering that this radio program was the central focus of her Faith 2 Action activism, Porter suddenly found that her entire career had essentially ground to a halt and she more or less disappeared from the scene for several months … until she resurfaced in her native Ohio in early 2011, introducing radical anti-choice legislation known as the "Heartbeat Bill" and leading the fight for its passage.

The legislation created a deep rift among Ohio’s anti-abortion activists, but quickly gained support from national Republican and Religious Right leaders as Porter organized a variety of stunts and promotions designed to pressure Ohio legislators to pass it, including flooding their offices with heart-shaped balloons and even scheduling a fetus to "testify" on behalf of the bill.

The bill passed in the state House but then stalled when it reached the state Senate amid concerns that it was blatantly unconstitutional. Convinced that she had the votes in the Senate needed to pass the legislation if it could simply be brought to a vote, Porter began holding regular rallies to pressure Republican Senate leaders to allow a vote, even bringing in a variety of self-proclaimed apostles and prophets to wage spiritual warfare as part of her effort.

Recently, Porter’s group hoped to set up the pressure with newspaper ads [PDF] warning the Republican leadership that if they did not allow a vote on the bill, "we will work to replace them with people who will."

But all of this pressure appears to have backfired, as today, Senate President Thomas Niehaus announced that Porter’s Heartbeat Bill was dead and blasted her organization for its unwillingness to accept any compromise on the legislation and for making "exaggerated and inflammatory statements" about his opposition to it:

President Tom Niehaus says he won’t pass legislation to essentially outlaw abortion in Ohio.

House Bill 125, the so-called heartbeat bill, triggered an unprecedented split in Ohio’s anti-abortion community, which disagreed about whether it was a good legal strategy to enact legislation almost certain to be declared unconstitutional.

In a strongly worded letter to “fellow pro-life Ohioan(s),” Niehaus said the bill was flawed and slammed supporters for questioning the commitment of majority Republicans in the Senate to ending abortion.

“Unfortunately, leaders of an organization called Faith2Action have made exaggerated and inflammatory statements…their claim that we ‘lose more than a school bus full of children every day’ due to a lack of Senate action on the bill is simply false, and I will not continue to allow this organization to question the commitment of my colleagues to ending the scourge of abortion.”

Janet Porter

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