As we have noted in the past, the groups pushing the anti-choice “personhood” amendments all around the country have tended to operate on their own because other established anti-choice groups have refused to support the efforts because a) they are unlikely to pass and b) they are unlikely to survive court challenges.
And despite the fact that the whenever “personhood” has made it onto the ballot, it has failed miserably, organizers continue to press the issue, and are even picking up support for an effort in Mississippi from the American Family Association while Mississippi Senator Roger Wicker is introducing national “personhood” legislation in Congress.
And in Ohio, Janet Porter has resurfaced with her own “personhood”-like legislation called “The Heartbeat Bill.” The legislation would ban abortions once a heartbeat is detected and, just like with the various “personhood” efforts, Porter’s former colleagues at Ohio Right to Life are refusing to support her measure because it won’t stand up in court:
[T]he so-called “Heartbeat Bill” legislation, which would ban abortion as early as 18 to 24 days after conception, isn’t supported by the Ohio Right to Life Society. That organization is backing a number of other anti-abortion bills, including a ban on late-term abortions after 20 weeks except when necessary to prevent the death of the mother or the irreversible impairment of a major body function.
Mike Gonidakis, the group’s executive director, said the heartbeat legislation would not survive a court challenge. “Despite noble aspirations, there is no scenario under which the heartbeat legislation will be upheld by any court and therefore no lives will be saved by passage of this bill,” Gonidakis said in an e-mail. “Our goal is to protect the lives we can now and that is why we introduced the late-term ban.”
Janet Porter, a key backer and a former Ohio Right to Life legislative director, said, “If we never ask, we’re never going to get it.”