By Marc Kovac
Republican Senate President Tom Niehaus dealt a blow to abortion opponents Tuesday, telling reporters that two much-debated bills would not move in his chamber before the end of the year.
Niehaus said he informed the majority caucus that he would not bring the Heartbeat Bill to a vote. The legislation would ban abortions within weeks of conception, whenever a fetal heartbeat is detected.
“I personally still have some of the constitutional concerns that I had a year and a half ago, and that’s as far as I’d like to go right now,” he said.
Niehaus also said there was not enough time to deal with separate legislation that likely would block funding for Planned Parenthood, prioritizing public funding for other women’s health-care centers. That bill is awaiting a vote in the Ohio House.
“I believe the House has had it for the better part of a year,” he said. “We still haven’t seen it. On Thursday, we will have two weeks left before the end of our general assembly. … I personally have issues with some of the policy considerations. ... From my perspective, I think you have to look at the entirety of the work that’s done by Planned Parenthood, and I believe they offer much-needed services that are not available other places.”
He added, “I encouraged my members to hold their heads high. We have been the most pro-life Legislature in my memory, having passed seven previous bills. I want to continue our focus on jobs and the economy. That’s what people are concerned about, making sure that people can find jobs and that we can get our economy back on track.”