Thursday, October 27, 2011

Vote Pro Life: A short conversation with Sister Mary Clement and Francis

When l I was downtown today (see below)  I spotted two people standing quietly on either side of the High Street entrance of the Statehouse with banners reading: Vote Pro Life: One Nation Under God!

They identified themselves as Francis and Sister Mary Clement from Holy Family Church.  Francis told me that they were not affiliated with any organization.  He doesn't even own a computer.  He assured me he'd never heard of Dave Daubenmire, Mark Harrington,  Patrick Johnston, and the rest of our local obstreperous  theocrats.  I can't imagine they would have much to talk about anyway.  Sister Mary Clement and Francis were just out there urging people to "vote for honest politicians." (A pretty big order!) not threatening the general population with hellfire.

Francis told me although only two people were present, there were really five:  Sister Mary Clement, Francis, the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.

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Occupy Columbus: A few pictures from today

I was downtown today and dropped by Occupy Columbus to see what was up.  Well, not much this aftenroon, but I thought I'd post the few pictures I took.

Occupy Cleveland and perhaps some other Occupy other Ohio cities are coming to down on Friday, and  a General Assembly will be held  at 2:00 pm on Saturday. at Bicentennial Park.   Here's more information on the GA:

Soapbox (Open Mic)
General Assembly Opening Comments 3pm Sharp
Committee Updates Calls To Action
Committee Proposals &
Resolutions Individual Proposals and Resolutions
Closing Comments End of General Assembly Soapbox (Open Mic)
Go to the Occupy Columbus FB page for more information.  They've got more than 8500 Friends.

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Sunday, October 23, 2011

Rick Santorum Has a Problem with Contraception: How Theocrats Feel about Birth Control

When I wrote Condom Coture the other day, (directly below this entry), I discussed briefly the anti-contraception ideology of so-called "prolife" advocates.  Abortion certainly is a genuine target, and Christian Domionists such as Mark Harrington/Created Equal's goal is to eradicate it. The larger target, however, is birth control, and the "contraception mentality," they believe opened the door to legal abortion and is destroying America and Christianity.  In my hurry to get Condom Couture online, I  linked to the obscure as an example of fundamentalist objections to contraception. Now I have a much better: authority: Rick Santorum.

Last Monday, Santorum, visiting  DesMoines,  gave a  45 minute video interview with Shane Vander Hart from Caffeinated Thoughts, in which he expounded on a variety of issues,  including the detrimental consequences of contraception on marriage, sex , family, church, government, and the economy.

Raw Story picked up the interview and has posted a partial  transcript of of Santorum's comments. I've listened to the original interview and Raw Story's transcript is accurate.  I'm re-posting Raw Story's transcript below. (Contraception remarks are at 17:45-20:08.)

The candidate later went on to explain that sex between a man and a woman is “special,” and even birth control is “not OK.”

 “We’ll repeal Obamacare and get rid any idea that you have to have abortion coverage or contraceptive coverage,” he said. “One of the things that I will talk about that no president has talked about before is I think the dangers of contraception in this country, the sexual liberty idea and many in the Christian faith have said, you know contraception is OK. It’s not OK because it’s a license to do things in a sexual realm that is counter to how things are supposed to be.”

 Santorum continued: “They’re supposed to be within marriage. They are supposed to be for purposes that are, yes, conjugal but also procreative, and that’s the perfect way a sexual union should happen. When we take any part of that out, we diminish the act. If we take one part out, it’s not for the purposes of procreation, it’s not one of the reasons, then you diminish this very special bond between men and women. So, why can’t you take other parts of that out? And then all of the sudden it becomes deconstructed to the point where it’s simply pleasure, and that’s certainly a part of it, and it’s an important part, don’t get me wrong. But there is a lot of things we do for pleasure and this is special and it needs to be seen as special.”

“I know most presidents don’t talk about those things, and maybe people don’t want us to talk about those things. But I think it’s important that you are who you are.”

You'd think liberals and progressives, after decades of  listening to Santorum-type Domionist rhetoric, would get it--but they don't.   Instead, liberal LaLas,  such as those who are responding to the Condom Couture protest in the Dispatch, cluelessly pander to theocrats in a a naive attempt to create "common ground" with people who not only  repudiate common ground, but stomp on it.. Since the "if you oppose abortion then you should support birth control" warble reflects a decadent, dying culture and nation which God has appointed Domionists--according to theocratic biblical interpretation-- to redeem-- the argument holds as much water as the proverbial sieve.Yet, useful liberal idiots pander in some odd belief that if they're nice enough, they and the Domionists will just agree to disagree and "move on."

Take for example, the June 2006 hearing on HB.228, an attempt to outlaw abortion in Ohio which I covered for the Free Press  (and on Theoconia.) Well-meaning liberals, wearing "Birth Control Not Bans"  tags  felt compelled, after a morning of listening to  Dr. John Willke's romance of what happens when sperm meets egg, and Patriot Pastor Russell Johnson and Janet Folger  (before she became Porter), comparing them to Southern slave holders and Nazis, to assure the panel, "we love our children."  With a couple exceptions,  the choicers from Planned Parenthood and "welcoming" churches spent the rest of the afternoon defending themselves against Folger's accusation that they are too busy killing babies to breed any for themselves.  Not one time did these so-called "defenders of abortion rights" mention the bedrock pro-abortion foundation of self-ownership and autonomy. Instead, "our defenders" argued tired old consumerist  "choice"--co-opted by  anti-aborts years ago-- except when they were lobbing their own cherry-picked  Bible verses across the room at Willke and Folger.who smirked back.

Jack Willke and Janet Folger Porter 
For the time being, some Domionists are willing, up to a point, to let birth control take a tactical backseat to abortion, though they won't remain particularly quiet, either.  John Willke, at least back in in 2006 was willing to take birth control off the table until legal abortion was outlawed realizing that if anti-aborts staged a two-pronged attack, neither stone would hit the mark. His comrade in arms, though,  Joe Scheidler, the granddaddy of the anti-abortion movement, and his  ProLife Action League (which backs Willke and Folger Porter's Ohio ProLife Action and their current Heartbeat bill) supports Santorum's position, believing that the abortion war cannot be won until the harmful moral consequences of contraception are exposed.  At Scheidler's  2006 conference, Contraception is Not the Answer, speakers proferred that contraception is the root cause of abortion,.  In order to ban legal abortion contraceptive culture needs to be derailed,and our Inner Druggars released.  The speakers argued that contraception harms women, decimates families, turns men into irresponsible bums, and lets all but the most pious run wild and pantless with no social restraint.  We can only wonder how may fornicators dance on the head of their pin. Or the fantasies that reside in their heads:

 Dr. Janet Smith,  professor of theology at Sacred Heart Major Seminary in Detroit argued that  birth control  insults women.  "It denies the gift of fertility and treats it as an inconvenience and a health condition to be treated."

Damon Clark Owens, director of New Jersey Natural Family Planning, declared that " contraception is a mortal assault on the marital love of spouses, the dignity of the person and the family that draws its life from that marital love.... It does not allow for the perfection of the person, but denies the unity and wholeness of sex, marriage, love and children."

"Former feminist" Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse complained that "contraceptive ideology says that all adults are entitled to unlimited sexual activity without a live baby resulting....Contracepted sex is dumb." . She is currently  the director of The Ruth Foundation: One Man, One Woman For Life ,a project of Maggie Gallagher's National Organization for Marriage    Roback Morse's goal is "to make marriage cool."  Queers need not apply.

Lionel Tiger,   Charles Darwin  (now Emeritus) Professor  of Anthropology at Rutgers had as much in common with  Joe Scheidler as Occupy Wall Street.  That didn't stop him, though, from arguing that birth control is bad because it puts the ability of women to control their reproduction in their own hands; thus, preventing shot gun marriages. "According to Tiger, the contraceptive pill has given reproductive control almost exclusively to women and has done away with the societal pressure on men to "do the right thing" in case of an unplanned pregnancy. He pointed out that the pill came into wide use in 1963—a cheap, effective, trouble-free contraceptive. "And what happened? Ten years later Roe v Wade. The entire scenario has driven men outside of the family structure—avoiding taking responsibility for a child they did not want to have and are not quite sure is their own."

Rick Santorum's statement earlier this week, is just the latest manifestation of decades of theocratic--Catholic, Protestant and misogynist--propaganda  that has been dismissed by liberals and progressives who don't want to dirty their own minds by delving into the minds of their opponents.  As a result, Domionists have been able to co-opt liberal  language and arguments, skew and reframe them as their own, and leave the "nice" people to bang their heads in their own wall..And, of course, dominate legislatures.and hack away at what is laughingly referred to as "abortion rights" in the US.

Banning birth control is a pipe dream, at least for now, and most likely in the future..Domionists know that. But their goal is actually not so much legislative, but "spiritual".through Christian conversion.via propaganda. By condemning contraception as the harbinger of the "culture of death" they hope to cut the underpinnings abortion.

Thanks to Mike Swanson for the Santorum tip! 
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Thursday, October 20, 2011

Created Equal: Condom Couture is an outrage to Ohio taxpayers!

Wednesday evening, Mark Harrington and his latest knock off, Created Equal, planned to picket a private fashion show fundraiser for Planned Parenthood of Central Ohio held at  the Shadowbox  Theatre on S. Front Street. .While any excuse to picket Planned Parenthood is a good excuse for Harrington, this event billed as "Condom Couture"--condom-inspired fashion with a cause" has driven the usually grumpy Harrington into the street. (As of this writing, I've been unable to learn if anyone showed up--I'll update when I do).

Maybe it's because this isn't' just some rubber chicken banquet.  It's $ponsored by the marketing research  firm One Point Contact, Continental Real Estate Companies, the Crane Group, and Teva Women's Health. I have no idea who showed up this year, but last years's local luminaries included  Mary and Bob Lazarus,  Howard Sirak, and Channel 10's Andrea Cambern.  Not a rubber chicken in sight.

 I have been unable able to locate a press release about the protest on the Created Equal website or major Christian wire services, but the Dispatch quotes Harrington in two short separate articles:

Condom rage: Despite the fact that the event is a private fundraiser, many taxpayers don't want to support the outrageous funding of sexual promiscuity under the guise of "safe sex."

Condoms on the catwalk:  This is an outrage to Ohio taxpayers and should not be tolerated.

We doubt that taxpayers much care if somebody wants to hang condoms from their hems, but we do know that  Harrington's real outrage is not for the Ohio taxpayer who has nothing to do with the event, but that somebody somewhere is having sex for non-procreative reasons.Marriage license or not. Private donations be damned!

Commenters on  the Dispatch site are treating Harrington like he's an ill-educated lout who opted out of sex-ed,. They  point out that condoms prevent pregnancy, not to mention abortion.  They do.of course, but that's not the point.since our local theocons oppose  birth control on Biblical and moral grounds, something the liberal mind can't phantom, and nine out of ten times clicks into pander mode when confronted by it. Abortion is simply the hook, something to grab the public, which still needs to be "educated" on birth control.. In the longterm, abortion is just one of many secular missteps in need of a Domionist repair. It's just sexier than the others.and gets the blood roiling.
Mark Harrington & Dave Daubenmire at Roy's Rock, Oct 15, 2004

I've covered Mark Harrington and his activities for at least six years. While others in his camp are passionate, hotheaded--even intellectual at times. Harrington has always seemed cynical,  Even in 2004, when I started to pay serious attention to him, Harrington appeared to have gone beyond  Domionists like Coach Dave Daubenmire and Dr. Patrick Johnston.  He struck me as a community organizer gone sour after  looking into the soul of  The People and finding it lacking. Somebody pulling the strings behind a candidate. Somebody who is happy behind a desk plotting it all out, or drawing up a flow-chart. (He's got a degree from OSU in Marketing and Economics.)   Not somebody standing in the street with a dumb sign or arguing with an OSU student over which holocaust is worse. Not that Harrington doesn't do these things.  He just never seems too happy about it. When I covered the Roy's Rock event  (transcript of speeches) for the Free Press in 2004, he was clearly bored and cut the event  short by a couple hours. All the songs were sung,  the last shofar blown, Coach  Daubenmire, Hollis Summers, and Harrington had said their piece, and State Rep Linda Reidellbach and the  president of the Ohio Christian Coalition were no-shows. Even the cops had left. Standing in the rain,  tandem with a rickety wooden trailer and a couple big  shiny rocks wasn't making his day.

Nonetheless Harrington knows an opportunity when he sees it, even if it's only for "the mission." The Dispatch picked up  the story fast enough and now it's all over the wire. He knows the stunt is silly, but he's sucking it up for the "greater good."

Mark Harrington is the long-time director of the Center for BioEthical Reform - Midwest (CBR), under which numerous projects were launched. The two best known are the Genocide Awareness Project  (GAP) which I wrote about in 2006 and truth trucks with their baybee  blender bits pictorials,  which you've probably seen driving around town annoying the mothers of young children.  He also developed Obama Nation/Christians for Social Justice  which posits Barack Obama as "the face of black genocide."

Harrington left CBR earlier this year to open up shop with Created Equal. In his press release announcing the opening,, he says that its name comes from the Declaration of Independence and Martin Luther King's famous I Have a Dream speech,  a quote which he neatly jereryrigged into something King did not say and the casual reader may miss. (italics is actual quote.)

Men should be judged not by the color of their skin" -- nor whether they are born or preborn-- but "by the content of their character." 

Harrington's press release description of Created Equal  fell right in line with my previous thinking about him:  a behind-the-scenes man.

Created Equal's goal is to train the next generation of leaders to take on the culture of death and win."  We will specialize in youth training and outreach at the high school and college level.  (He' is currently holding training sessions on the OSU campus)....

Using new media and cutting edge technology, he says "Our projects will be easily transferable to students all across America so they can win the abortion debate on campus now and into the future."
Dr. Patrick Johnston and Troy Newman, November 2005, Columbus

Created Equal is endorsed by Scott Klusendorf, president of, Life Training Institute; Lila Rose, president Live Action, and notorious  "undercover videographer";  Fr. Frank Pavone, National Director of Priests for Life;   Dr. John Willke, co-founder of  National Right to Life, Ohio Right to Life, and founder of the Life Issues Institute;  prominent anti-abortion blogger Jill Stanek;  Troy Newman, director of Operation Rescue, Phil  Burress, president of Citizens for Community Values;  Mike Gonidakis, director of Ohio Right to Life;  and WRFD talk show host, Bob Burney.

 These are not insignificant names.

I have written about some of them hereand for the Free Press. Willke and Buress are board members of Janet Folgler Porter's new Pro Life Action Ohio, which may blow Ohio Right to Life right out of the game.  Jill Stanek and Troy Newman have appeared on the platform with Folger Porter recently and have ties to other Central Ohio Domionists. These supporters drag in a busload of like-minded friends in-state and out.. With the convergence of  so many theoconic forces in Ohio (which I'll be writing about over the next few weeks),  it appears the state is being sent up as a flashpoint.

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Friday, October 14, 2011

Ohio Right to Life: Informed Consent v Informed Consent--It's All Situational

On September 27, the Ohio Senate passed HB 63, an Ohio Right Right to Life  (ORTL)  bill to "tighten" up the procedures by which unmarried women in Ohio under the age of 18 can get an abortion without parental notification and consent. The passage of HB 63 is another tool to hack away at abortion access in the state. The bill, however, gives us the opportunity to expose the duplicitous  nature of ORTL's fraudulent concerns about  "informed consent" "parental involvement" and "best interests" of teen women.. Dubious at best, these bytes  spewed out to the public are nullified by ORTL's  sponsorship, support, and promotion of Ohio's "safe haven law,"  which encourages women-- and targets teens especially-- to hide pregnancies, give birth unattended, and to turn over their newborns  anonymously to the state with no counseling, no parental involvement, and no health care, all under their "pro-life" banner.

Under Ohio law, an unmarried woman under the age of 18 cannot get an abortion without parental consent.  She can, however, loophole out by utilizing the judicial bypass procedure which permits her to go to juvenile court and request the state's consent  for her abortion outside of the family structure. This legal procedure requires judges to inquire about the minor's understanding of the "possible physical and emotional complications of abortion and how she would respond to such complications."  That is, judges are forced to consider, for the most part, a laundry list of  ORTL and Friends myths about abortion. The teen's responses determine her mental and emotional "maturity" to undergo the procedure.  Oddly, a young woman  ruled  too "emotionally  immature" to have an abortion  is considered  mature enough to carry a pregnancy to term, give birth, and presumably rear a child--unless she decides to place it for adoption, or dump the newborn anonymously at a no-questions-asked state-facilitated "safe haven" drop-off point--neither of which requires consent of the teen's parents or a judicial bypass to accomplish.

There are no good figures on how many judicial bypass requests have been made in Ohio since the law went into effect in 1985. In 2003, however,  the Akron Beacon Journal, under a public information request  to selected county juvenile courts, was able to identify 515 requests made between 2000 and late 2003. Out of those, 73 were denied. Unfortunately, the Beacon Journal article is no longer online so I'm forced to use the biased secondary source for these figures and other information regarding the survey..

Since the survey was reported, the  number of successful loopholes has been a bug up the nose of our local anti-aborts, and over the last few months ORTL has been working on passage of HB 63 to tighten them up. (Earlier bills were unsuccessful.)  HB 63 passed the House in March, and last week, a slightly different version passed the Senate. After the concurrence hearing, it's all over but the signing.

HB  63 was sponsored and supported by Speaker of the House William Batchelder and a gaggle of House and Senate Republicans. Many of them oppose the right of adopted adults to access their original birth certificates..  Two of them are Rep.Matt Hoffman and Bob Mecklenborg who rolled their eyes and cracked jokes to each other during, and walked out during 2008 testimony  (and here and here) before the House Health Committee in support of the original HB 7 records access/adoption and foster care reform bill. Mecklenborg was recently forced to resign from his House seat after he was arrested in Indiana drunk and pumped up with Viagra in the company of a stripper (who he described as "an old family friend").

 The Senate analysis of the bill indicates that HB 63 does the following: (my bold)
  • Requires the court, in a hearing to permit a pregnant minor to consent to an abortion or by which a court may give judicial consent to an abortion, to specifically inquire about the minor's understanding of the possible physical and emotional complications of abortion and how the minor would respond if the minor experienced those complications after the abortion. 
  •  Requires the court, in a hearing of the type described in the previous dot point, to specifically inquire about the extent to which anyone has instructed the minor on how to answer questions and on what testimony to give at the hearing.
  •  Requires the court, in a hearing of the type described in the second preceding dot point, to make its findings regarding whether or not the minor is sufficiently mature and well enough informed to decide intelligently whether to have an abortion and whether or not the abortion is in the best interests of the minor by clear and convincing evidence
“Rubber stamping” and an alleged lack of "informed consent” is ORTL’s putative complaint. Last February, ORTL lobbyist Stephanie Krider, testifying before the House Health and Aging Committee claimed that the current judicial bypass procedure is nothing but blatant government contempt for parental involvement in a teenager's decision to seek an abortion. To underscore her point, Krider claimed, presenting no evidence,  that underage women going to court are being over-prepped by lawyers, Planned Parenthood, and even "older men" (aka seducer adult males fearful of statuary rape or rape charges) ) on how to respond to judges' queries and manipulate the decision to the petitioner’s favor.  (Krider forgot to mention that communication between client and attorney are confidential, thus suggesting at a broader long-term objective to the bill than just "informed consent.") Since bypass hearings are closed to the public, she complained. parents are denied the right to legal representation and  to cross examine the teen or present opposing testimony.  She says that judges tend  to ask routine scripted questions, but then hints of an organized high school underground that informs teenagers of "new" questions a specific judge has asked recently.

 Here are some quotes direct from the keyboard of ORTL and its legislative cronies bemoaning the deficiency of parental input and informed consent in the judicial bypass procedure:.  (My bold):
  •  The fact that so many judges automatically  conclude that it is in the minor's "best interest" to have an abortion without notifying her parents shows that they have no concept of how physically and emotionally harmful an abortion can be to a young woman...Parents kept in the dark about their daughter's abortion may underestimate the importance of signs of physical and emotional problems until it’s too late.  Mark Lally, ORTL legislative counsel,, November 11, 2003. 
  •  Ohioans know that parental consent laws save lives...We are trying very hard to preserve parents' ability to help their daughters when they are confronted with the challenges of teenage pregnancy.  A recent study proved that responsible parental consent laws reduce the minor abortion rate by 18.7 percent.  Mike Gondiakis, Executive Director of ORTL, Ohio Right to Life Press Release,  March 16, 2011. 
  • A minor's decision to terminate a pregnancy can have immeasurable consequences.  It is critical that we do everything possible to allow for meaningful parental input.  HB 63 sponsor Ron Young, Life, March 16, 2011.
  •  The pro-life legislation will protect minors and their unborn children by strengthening parental involvement and consent laws. Mike Gondiakis, Executive Director, ORTL Press Release, June 22, 2011. 
  •  This pro-life legislation will protect minors and their unborn children by closing loopholes and raising the bar to protect parents' ability to care for their children."... "HB 63 strengthens parents; ability to care for their children and prevents lawyers and others from taking mom and dad's place when the child needs them most."   Mike Gondiakis, Executive Director, ORTL Press Release, September 27, 2011. 
All of this rhetoric about informed consent and strengthening, family communication, parental involvement and rights (real or otherwise) in the untimely pregnancies of teen daughters would normally be talk I'd not be writing about here. It's all old ho-hum.  Everybody knows that ORTL’s real problem is that somebody somewhere is having an abortion.

Ohio Right to Life and its friends in the General Assembly, however,  are on legislative record  as opposing informed consent, family communication, and parental involvement in  the unplanned pregnancies of their teen daughters when it fits the organization's political agenda.

With its support and promotion of the state's "Desertion of Child Under 72 Hours Old Act" (DCA), popularly known as the "safe haven" law" that lets women of any age legally abandon their newborn children anonymously with no questions asked, ORTL  guts its demand for informed consent and parental involvement in critical child-bearing decisions that can effect their daughters’ and their grandchildren's physical and mental health permanently, and in the process, collapses on its self-defined moral high ground.

 Ohio's "safe haven" law, is the ultimate loophole. It doesn't require a lawyer.  It doesn't require parental notification or consent. It doesn't require a judicial bypass hearing. It doesn't require counseling, "informed consent". or  even a  flyer listing alternatives to legalized dumping. It doesn't require  surrender documents and other tedious paperwork.  It doesn't even require that the "parent" be identified  by name, show an ID, or prove legal custody. It only requires the desire of someone to get rid of a baby after it's born.with no fuss, muss, and untidy questions .

Ohio law permits any  woman (or man) of any age to anonymously "relinquish" a newborn at designated state-approved drop-off points such as ERs, fire stations and police stations.  (Despite the hype, "safe haven" infants aren't being "relinquished" for adoption, though adoption may be the outcome. Infants are, instead, being thrown into the juvenile court and CPS to founder for at least a year. until their legal status is clarified.)  Some states' laws are broader and  include drop-offs at  staffed churches, dentist offices, health departments--and "any responsible person" (no definition of "responsible person” given). In  a few states such as Florida, "safe haven" agents are barred legally from asking newly delivered mothers if they need medical assistance. Legally complicated and sometimes expensive  mechanisms are in place for parents or kin to retrieve the child.

 Passed in late 1999, HB 660,  Ohio's original "safe haven" law, was enacted during a wave of moral panic in response to a falsely perceived  nationwide epidemic of newborn discard and neonaticide fueled by mainstream media that focused on rare and sensational incidents. such as the infamous  1998 "Prom Mom" case. Initially, the law legalized  the anonymous dumping of babies up to three days of age. In  2008, under SB 304, the General Assembly expanded the age frame to children up to 30 days old, though  as in 1999,  there was no evidence that infant discard was  a problem in Ohio.

 HB 660 was a creature of the legislature with some support from public child welfare agencies. Law enforcement, also supported the measure even though hearing witnesses admitted they had no memory of discard incidents in their jurisdictions. .The bill received  no support from child welfare and adoption ethicists, adoptee rights/adoption reform groups or for the most part,  private adoption agencies,.

Opponents  raised serious ethical and legal questions, pointing out that legalized baby dumping is irreconcilable to best practice in child welfare and adoption; a heave-ho to over 100 years of evolving  practice and a slap in the face of everyone who has ever surrendered a child "the right way."

Moreover, "safe haven" laws did nothing to decrease infant abandonment. On the contrary, they gave infant abandonment the state's seal of approval, which in turn encouraged women who would have otherwise  sought counseling and alternatives to abandonment to now make  "non-bureaucratic surrenders” that lacked the legal protections for mother and child under traditional child welfare law.  They were  also concerned that the law, with the promise that "nobody would ever have to know you had this child" would encourage young women to forgo pre- and post natal care, putting  the welfare and lives of themselves and their babies at risk.

 Reform groups  particularly objected to lack of informed consent and parental involvement, anonymous "relinquishment,” secret birth and adoption, and the erasure of  the other parent  (usually fathers) and the biological family.. Adoption agencies were especially critical of  hidden, unattended pregnancies and birth,  lack of informed consent, and lack of fathers’ consent, all of which in business terms, put their own incomes at risk.

In 1999, I attended three of the four  House Children and Family Services Committee hearings for HB 660 and testified against the bill at the second hearing. So-called "pro-life" proponents made no objection to the lack of informed consent and parental input.or the inherent danger of unattended pregnancy and birth. They acted as if magic babies would suddenly appear on a pink fluffy cloud, clean and healthy as ...well... who knows.  One woman from Akron whose church was eager to adopt "every abandoned baby in the state" testified  that  medical conditions and psychological problems caused by secret pregnancy, delivery, and anonymous abandonment were unimportant. "The baby will just  be glad to be alive.  If it has problems, it will just have to live with it."

Neither the Church Lady nor the committee as a whole cared just what those problems might be. Children born with no pre-natal care are subject to numerous disabilities including cerebral palsy, mental retardation and delay, blindness, low birth weight, diabetes and hyperlidemia, short life spans.and...death.  Women who receive no pre- or post-natal care and give birth unattended are subject to life-threatening pregnancy-related disabilities including infection, premature birth, breech birth,  placenta previa/accreta (which can require a C-Section), preeclampsia, hypermesis, gravidarum,  post-partum depression or psychosis, and... death.. Very young women are at especially high risk.

House sponsor and bill author Rep Cheryl Wmikler, who also chaired the House committee meetings,  made the improbable claim  during one hearing that 14-year old girls,  a few moments after giving birth alone over a toilet or in a bathtub, would just hop on a bus or catch a ride with "an older friend in college" (!) and drop off the baby before anyone knew what had happened. Bleeding out was not an option..

 "Safe haven" was seen simply as another way to "save babies." and consequences  be damned!   Winkler, in fact, closed each hearing with a tearful  "Thank you for saving the babies." (see Carol Sanger's excellent Infant Safe Haven Laws: Legislating in the Culture of Life, Columbia Law Review  104:4 :4 May 2006 on the connection in the greater political culture between "safe haven" laws and abortion.). Ironically, when the bill passed the House, the two dissenting votes came from the most conservative anti-abortion members in the chamber:  Rep Jim Jordan (now  a Congressman) and  Rep. Ron Young, both believing that the law "cheapened life." Jordan, during hearings, objected on many of the same grounds as did adoption reformers and adoptee rights activists.  Cincinnati Republican Doug White opposed in the Senate..

 HB 660 passed into law, dreaded rubber stamp in hand.

Ohio Right to Life's legislative support for  HB 660  is no longer online. For more than a decade, though, it  has supported baby dumping and advocated  the use of "safe havens" by posting information about the program on its website.  Various ORTL state affiliates link back to it.  Its webpage does not mention medical complications and psychological problems for mother and child..Other state anti-abortion organizations signed on, too:   Americans United for Life, The Catholic Conference of Ohio, Democrats for Life in Ohio, Ohio Christian Alliance, Priests for Life, and the Life Issues Institute.)

 ORTL's support for SB 304, the 2008 expansion law, however, is easy to find..  ORTL testified in support of SB 304, but it's testimony is not online.  In a  December 9, 2008,  press release, though,  distributed to anti-abortion organizations and media throughout the country, and reprinted in ORTL state affiliate newsletters,  ORTL Director, Mike Gondiakis praised the expansion. "We believe that extending the time frame when a parent can use the Safe Haven law will help protect babies."

Large numbers of ORTL  PAC recommendations for  the 2008 session put their names on SB 304 and another time expansion measure, HB 485.  The second bill,  which would have  increased the age eligibility from three to six days, was left to die in committee in the wake of SB 304. (See sidebar below for names)

Ironically, by supporting the extension of the dump age to 30 days,  ORTL and its legislative buddies, appeared downright anti-family, suggesting that parents should be able to test-drive their children before deciding to keep them.  (This is not a far-fetched.  In California,  proponents of several unsuccessful attempts to expand that state’s “safe haven” time frame, citing post-partum depression, protracted C-section recoveries, and  new-parent sleep deprivation, argued that parents need time to decide they are up to the task, and they should be able to "send the baby back" if they came up short.  In a moment of clarity California Right to Life Advocates and the California Right to Life Committee opposed the expansion for moving the intent of “safe haven" from "child saving" to "child welfare.")

 Not satisfied with simply having baby dumping on the books, sponsors of both expansion bills included provisions  for the state to educate "at  risk populations" on how to abandon newborns without going to jail. HB 485 specifically required some sort of high school curriculum  unit  be developed "pertaining to the desertion of a child less than one hundred and forty-four hours after birth by parents with no intent to return for the child."  In effect, "safe haven" proponents and ORTL were eager to teach teenagers how to avoid parental detection of pregnancy and birth. So far, we have not see any baby abandonment curriculum coming out of the state, though several states, including California, Illinois and Catholic schools in  Florida 

In the bizarro world of Ohio Right to Life, parental involvement  in teen pregnancies when "saving fetuses" is involved, is essential to the maintenance of “traditional family values” Involvement is eliminated in the name of “traditional family values” when it comes to the safety and welfare of young pregnant women, just delivered mothers, and just born babies as long as the babies are scheduled to be dumped on an ER counter.

Under the banner of informed consent, Ohio Right to Life insists on scaring -warning pregnant women with  a laundry list of what it claims are the harmful effects of abortion,   At the same time it  ignores the harmful effects of  secret pregnancy on the fetus,  the harmful effects of unattended secret birth on baby and mother, and the harmful effects of child abandonment. on both. Moreover, it does not address the legal ramifications of "safe haven." which are beyond the scope of this piece, but include protracted legal proceedings including  closed court hearings, the filing of a deserted child complaint against the "courageous" parent, and expensive DNA testing if reunification is desired.

Current informed consent procedures in Ohio include a menu of  best practice and ORTL-friendly  warnings, but "safe haven" procedures require none. Ever.  Mental retardation?.  Fine!  Premature? Fine! Breech birth?  Fine.  Preeclampsia?  Fine. Excessive bleeding?  Fine! Post Partum Depression?  Fine.   You'd think this would worry ORTL and its Statehouse point men, but it doesn't.   It it did, it wouldn't be pimping  baby abandonment.




Also see The Company They Keep below

SB 304:  Over half of the sponsors of SB 304 were either ORTL PAC endorsees or preferred candidates for the 2008 election.  

Senate:  6 out of 21 sponsors:  Cates, Wagoner, Seitz, Faber, Neihaus, Austria (already in office, but running for Congress with ORTRL endorsement).  

House:  31 out of 68 sponsors: Goodwin, Sears, Uecker, Wachtmann, Huffman, Mecklenborg, Jones, B Williams, Adams, Bacon, Batchelderr, Blessing, Bolon, Bubp, Coley, Combs, Dodd, Gardner, Garrison, Gibbs, Hite, Hottinger, Hughes, Mandel, Newcomb, Oelslanger, Schlichter, Stewart and Sehringer.  Brinkman,  a veteran of ORTL point man was term limited out at the time of the vote and Nero was a "preferred candidate."  Brinkman,  a veteran of ORTL point man  was term limited out at the time of the vote and Nero was a "preferred candidate."

HB 465: 10 out of 28 sponsors of HB 465 were ORTL PAC endorsees:  DeGeeter (lead spoonsor) and: Watchmann, Garrison, Driehaus,. Brinkman, McGregor, Combs, Dodd,  Bolon,  BWilliams, Gardener,  and Domenick.

HB 304 and HB 63: 13 ORTL-PAC  endorsees sponsored SB 304 against parental involvement and informed consent for baby dumping  and sponsored HB 63 for parental involvement and informed consent: for abortion:    Goodwin, Sears, Ueucker, Hoffman, Wachtman, Mecklenborg, J Adams, Batchelder, Blessing, Coley Bubp, Gardener, Hottinger.

To keep the record straight and going: 2010 ORTL PAC endorsses either not endorsed earlier or not in office during the 2008 SB 304 campaign  who supported the new bypass regs are  Roegner,  Henne,  Brenner,  Maag,  Boose,  Grossman, Martin, Stautberg,  Kozlewski, Dovilla, Blair, Combs, McKenney, Burke, Balderson, Amstutz, Beck, R. Adams, McClain, Rosenberger, Johson, Schuring, Carey, Gonzales, and Young. For unknown reasons, Senate sponsors aren't included on the Senate copy of theonline bill,  but Mike Gondakis, in his September 27 press release thanks  ORTL PACT endorsees and expansionists Nehaus and Wagoner.for their support for informed consent.

Rep (and sometime Senator) ) Kurt Schuring is probably the only institutal memory of the1999-2008  baby dmp campaign left at the Statehouse.  He was an original lead sponsor in the House, and a sponsor of the expansion in the Senate. In 2008 I reminded him that in 1999  Cheryl Winkler, author of the original law,  had adamantly opposed an extension of the timefame calling anything beyond three days "premeditated abandonment."  He acted like I'd just told him Kim Kardasian had written the Declaration of Independence, though the nformation came directly from the lips of Winkler's legislative aide to my ear.  Schurding was also a sponsor of  the HB63 judicial bypass changes. Although not a ORTL PAC endorsee, he comes close to it. Rep. Ron Young, who opposed the original "safe haven bill" was also a sponsor of HB 63.


Jared Martin:  In  January 2010 Rep.Jarrd Martin and five other men were kicked out a Beavercreek hotel .for fighting.during a bachelor party.  Two months later, in March, he  was found drunk, slumped over the steering wheel of Ohio House Speaker Bill Batchelder's Chevy Suburban in an overnight downtown parking garage.  Then, on. July 27, 2011, Martin was arrested at a traffic stop near Beavercreek and charged with drunk driving and child endangering  At that point, Speaker Batchelder asked Martin to "consider" resigning his seat. Martin refused, saying he doesn't have a drinking problem and then mumbled somethng about "stupid rumors."

Robert Mecklenborg: In April, Rep. Bob Mecklenborg was arrested in Indiana drunk and pumped up with Viagara while in the company of a stripper.  Later he neglected to mention his arrest when applying for his new drivers's license. . House Speaker Bill Batchelder requested Mecklenborg's resignation.  Although the resignation was announced  in mid-July, it did not take effect until August 2. 

Sen. Kris Jordan (and here): In July and August 2011,  Sen. Kris Jordan was investigated by the Delaware County Sheriff''s Department after his wife, Melissa, the Delaware County Recorder,  made several calls to the 911 center asking for assistance and then cancelling. She reported that he was drunk and had a gun. (Both have CCW permits).  Later he claimed the Sheriff's office was conspiring to destroy his political career. No charges were filed.

A slightly different version of the article  appears in the Columbus Free Press.

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