Political Pulse is a weekly column with the goal of giving objective, to-the-point information to readers on current political events.
New abortion bill
The Ohio Senate passed a bill last week that would require aborted fetuses to be buried or cremated.
The bill went through 24-9 with votes coming in along party lines.
Republican Sen. Joe Uecker, who proposed the legislation, said the bill is all about respect for human life.
“The goal is simply to keep the remains of babies that have been aborted out of landfills,” Uecker said. “It is a dignity of human life issue.”
This is the second attempt to have the proposed requirements made into law. A similar bill, also proposed by Uecker, made it out of the Senate last session but never received a vote in the House.
Uecker said the proposed legislation is motivated by documented cases of aborted fetal remains being found in landfills, citing a specific case in the Cincinnati area where two sanitation workers at a water treatment facility found the remains of an aborted baby on the screens used to filter out solid waste.
“That was a very traumatic and horrific sight for these two workers from the water treatment facility,” Uecker said.
Opponents of the bill have decried the legislation as an unconstitutional restriction on abortion providers.
Kellie Copeland, executive director of Pro-Choice Ohio, derided the legislation in a statement ahead of the Senate vote.
“When a woman has made the decision to have an abortion she should be able to to access that care in her community without judgment or harassment,” she said. “The anti-abortion politicians behind this bill want to force a woman who has had an abortion to have to consider and decide upon burial or cremation services — it’s inappropriate and demeaning.”
Opponents of the bill also have pointed out that a similar law in Indiana was found unconstitutional by a federal judge, but that decision is currently being appealed.
Uecker said if his legislation does not get a vote in the House this session, like last session, then he will propose it again next session.
National news over the weekend was focused on the three-day shutdown of the federal government, but that came to an end Monday night when President Donald Trump signed a three-week stop-gap funding bill.
The shutdown was a result of disagreements regarding immigration legislation, with Democrats attempting to tie the fate of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival program to the funding bill.
Republicans rebuffed the efforts, accusing Democrats of playing politics and denying funding for troops and children’s insurance, since funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program — a measure Democrats required in the legislation — was also written into the funding bill.
Ultimately, funding for the CHIP program was extended for six years and the bill passed late Monday night, while DACA found no resolution. But Democrats received assurance from Senate Republicans to hash out immigration issues in the coming weeks.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said the agreement reached would make the debate over immigration fair.
“Let me be clear: This immigration debate will have a level playing field at the outset and an amendment process that’s fair to all sides,” McConnell said in a press conference.
The White House was pleased with the deal. Press secretary Sarah Sanders said it amounted to what Trump had proposed from the beginning.
“I am pleased Democrats in Congress have come to their senses and are now willing to fund our great military, border patrol, first responders and insurance for vulnerable children,” Trump said in a statement read by Sanders.
With the bill providing only three weeks of funding, all eyes will now turn to the debate over DACA, border patrol and immigration as a whole to see whether a bipartisan deal can be struck.