In My Ohio

​On Ohio House Bill 125

Darren C. Demaree
​This week, Ohio’s House of Representatives voted 54-43 to pass House Bill 125, the “Heartbeat” Bill, that (in conflict with federal law) would ban abortions once a fetal heartbeat was detected, this can occur as early as six weeks. The established ruling, Roe v. Wade, made abortions legal up to when the fetus could exist outside of the womb, somewhere between weeks 22 and 24. If HB 125 were to become law it would be the strictest anti-abortion legislation in the country, and would pose a direct challenge to the authority of the 1973 Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision.
There is a logic to the idea that even though it made it through Ohio’s House, there is no way it would ever become actual law, because not only will the pressure to defeat such a bill become intense now that we have become a national spectacle, but the courts (either on the state or federal level) would immediately strike down the proposed law due to the conflict with already established verdicts. That part of the system would normally be enough to assuage my anxiety, but with what has taken place recently in Indiana, there is a wild-card nature to our state governments now that makes anything a possibility.
The closer they get to your actual doorstep, the less rational the politician seems to have become. These politicians, the ones that just voted to strip away the rights a woman has to her own body, they are our neighbors. It's not hyperbolic or mythic or fear-based anymore, there are politicians in Ohio that are actively making decisions with only their own agendas/beliefs at the forefront of their minds. They are behaving as appointed oligarchs, as opposed to the elected officials that they are.
This radical character of the modern politician espousing values that are not the will of the people, pursuing radical agendas with blinders on to anything else, that character has always existed, but now they are not loners barking at the moon. They are well-funded, well-schooled, and have entire teams of legislators to support their animalistic yowling. They can do things now. They can change the political landscape on a much larger level; they just did in Ohio.
On a personal level, I don’t have an issue if your opinions are in conflict with mine, and I am willing to extend that to these politicians. However, their conduct recently has not held true to two of the most important tenants of governance. They have spoken, voted, and behaved without nuance and without empathy. I cannot maintain the level of respect I carry for every Ohioan for a group of individuals that are so clearly not concerned with the well-being of other Ohioans. When you are elected to any government position, on any level, your first job is to behave in the best interests of the people. You cannot swear to only protect one gender, or one race, or one religion, or even one particular lifestyle just because that is your particular ethos. You must empathize with those that elected you, regardless of your beliefs
There are almost six million women living in Ohio. Why did Ohio’s House of Representatives just decide that their bodies were all property that could be dictated to? It’s a decision that’s akin to some of our state’s most embarrassing sins, and as an Ohioan I am wondering where the empathy and nuance of our politicians has gone?
I assume either the courts will take care of this, or our Governor, who has his eyes on the White House, will decide to veto it as a part of his choreography to the Presidency. But even if one of those acts takes place it doesn’t remove the shame that comes from this week, this decision. I have a five-year-old daughter. This decision doesn’t affect her yet, it might never affect her, but she is one of the only things I love more than Ohio. There is no way I would ever allow her body to be up for debate by people such as these.