On Thursday, Michelle and Jim Bob Duggar and 17 of their 19 children joined Ohio legislators and pro-life advocates at a press conference reintroducing the Ohio Human Heartbeat Protection Act, known as the Heartbeat Bill. The bill’s primary sponsor, 24-year-old Rep. Christina Hagan (R-Alliance), said, “We’re ready to light the fire again and we’re ready to go to battle and fight for what is most important in the world, and that is life. We’re not willing to take ‘no’ for an answer.”
The bill, with 40 co-sponsors, would ban all abortions after a baby’s heartbeat is detected, making it the strictest abortion law in the nation. A similar bill passed the House in 2011 but died in the Senate last session when Senate President Tom Niehaus (R-Richmond) refused to bring it to the floor for a vote. Since then, Arkansas and North Dakota passed similar laws, which were promptly blocked by federal judges. Many expect the North Dakota law to ultimately be decided by the Supreme Court.
Co-sponsor Rep. Lynn Wachtmann (R-Napoleon) thinks that a growing list of state Heartbeat Bills could put pressure on the courts. “I don’t think the justices of the Supreme Court are immune to public opinion.” When asked why they are going through this again, Wachtmann says, “In America, it’s always a great day to work to save more babies.”
Michelle Duggar, mother of the brood from the TLC reality show 19 Kids and Counting, said, “If the powers that be do not vote to support life, then they need to be replaced by those who will.” Among the 19 Duggar kids in attendance was 4-year-old Josie, who was born prematurely at 25 weeks, weighing only 1 pound 6 ounces. In many states it is legal to abort a baby after 24-weeks gestation. Jim Bob Duggar worked to help pass the Heartbeat Bill in the family’s home state of Arkansas.