Janet Porter Was Not Invited to the Signing of Ohio’s Heartbeat Bill

In 2011, longtime Religious Right activist Janet Porter returned to her roots in Ohio and launched a campaign to convince the state legislature to pass a piece of legislation she had named “The Heartbeat Bill.” The immediate purpose of the bill was to ban abortion from the moment a fetal heartbeat can be detected, which Porter openly bragged would outlaw abortion “before the mother even knows she’s pregnant,” while the longer term goal was for the legislation to be “the foot in the door” to eventually outlawing abortion completely.

For years, Porter’s bill was killed each time it came before the Ohio legislature, but she remained committed to seeing it passed. She was eventually able to overcome the opposition from state legislators and some local anti-choice organizations whose leaders worried that the bill was too radical and would not survive the inevitable court challenges. But even after Porter managed to get the Ohio legislature to pass her Heartbeat Bill, it was twice vetoed by then Gov. John Kasich.

When Mike DeWine was elected governor in 2018, he pledged to sign the Heartbeat Bill and did so last week … but Porter was conspicuously absent:

One of the nation’s fiercest advocates for banning abortions at the first detectable heartbeat was missing when Republican Gov. Mike DeWine signed the bill into Ohio law.

Legislative leaders, bill sponsors, pastors, pregnancy center operators and members of Ohio Right to Life — the state’s leading anti-abortion group — attended Thursday’s bill signing.

Absent was anti-abortion activist Janet Folger Porter, founder and president of Faith2Action, the group she used to originate and champion the heartbeat legislation for a decade.

“Being disinvited to the bill signing by the governor, it stung. But I’m keeping my eye on the big picture,” Porter said. “And the whole point of the last 10 years of my life was to bring the killing to an end.”

DeWine invited nearly 30 others into the room for the signing — and used and handed out nearly as many souvenir pens. At a distance from what should have been her crowning moment, Porter declared “VICTORY!” in one of her signature hyperbolic emails.

DeWine spokesman Dan Tierney declined to directly address why Porter wasn’t there.

The DeWine administration’s decision not to invite Porter to attend the signing ceremony was presumably part of an effort to downplay the radical nature of the legislation and to distance itself from the extremism of the right-wing activist most responsible for it winding up on his desk:

Faith 2 Action’s Janet Porter is a longtime anti-gay and anti-choice activist who has embraced a variety of wild conspiracy theories while constantly warning of the looming “criminalization of Christianity.”

For years, Porter used her daily radio program and weekly column to promote a variety of conspiracy theories surrounding President Obama’s birth, alleging that his election was the result of a massive communist conspiracy. After her prayers failed to prevent Obama from taking office and subsequently cursing America, Porter went to work warning her fellow conservatives that Obama would orchestrate food shortages in order to starve them to death, use a swine flu outbreak as an excuse to lock them up in concentration camps, and use Obamacare to deny them healthcare and eliminate them.

Porter has also long warned that increasing acceptance of gay rights will turn Christians into criminals who will eventually be rounded up and tossed in jail, going so far as to try and prevent the Supreme Court from ruling on the issue of gay marriage. Recently she produced an anti-gay documentary called “Light Wins” that featured a variety of Republican members of Congress, GOP presidential hopefuls and anti-gay activists warning that gay activists are “grooming” and endangering children, for which they should be held criminally liable.

Despite her radical views, Porter managed to host a “Values Voters Debate” back in 2007, which featured Mike Huckabee and other GOP presidential contenders making their pitches to a bevy of radical Religious Right activists. But Porter’s star dimmed a bit when her radio program was cancelled in 2010 due to her growing ties to the Dominionist movement, as typified by her prayers that God would give conservative Christians control over the government and the media: