The Ohio Republican Senate finds itself in a place Ronald Reagan called "A Time for Choosing" - the title of his famous speech. The choice before these Republicans?
Life or death.
You see, if the Senate passes the Heartbeat Bill, as the House did a year ago, it will save from abortion every child whose heartbeat can be heard - 26,000 Ohio babies each year.
Yet, the Republican-controlled Ohio Senate, which claims to be the most pro-life Senate in history, refuses to vote on the most protective bill in Ohio history.
It's a bill which will protect more babies than all of Ohio's other pro-life laws combined, a bill with more pro-life support than any other bill of it's kind.
After a series of excuses, the Ohio Republican Senate now claims it should preemptively kill the Heartbeat Bill because the court might find it unconstitutional. I heard the very same thing when I lobbied to pass Ohio's informed consent, parental consent and the nation's first ban on partial birth abortion laws - now on our books. All were challenged and later upheld. If we had followed the advice of the naysayers and done nothing, brutal partial birth abortions would still be legally practiced in our state.
But because the Ohio General Assembly was not afraid to lead, 30 states and Congress followed Ohio and the Supreme Court eventually said "yes." You see, it is Roe v. Wade that is in violation of our U.S. Constitution. And the Senate didn't swear to uphold Roe v. Wade, they swore to uphold and defend the Constitution, which contains these words in the 14th Amendment:
"... nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws."
That 14th Amendment is also mentioned in another prominent document: the Republican Party Platform:
"... we assert the inherent dignity and sanctity of all human life and affirm that the unborn child has a fundamental individual right to life which cannot be infringed ... and we endorse legislation to make clear that the 14th Amendment's protections apply to unborn children."
Now is the time for Ohio Senate Republicans' choosing: Either they stand by the Republican platform and call for the protection of unborn children with an immediate floor vote on the Heartbeat Bill, or admit they are Republican In Name Only and are content with merely regulating abortion.
I encourage them to choose life, stand by the Constitution, the Republican platform and their pro-life campaign promises and bring the real Heartbeat Bill to an immediate floor vote. Reagan said, "there is no cause more important." And with the Senate recess quickly approaching, there is no better time than now.
(Porter is the former legislative director of Ohio Right to Life, former Ohio Republican state central committeewoman and president of Faith2Action.)