NORTH ROYALTON, Ohio – Janet Folger Porter hosted a raucous victory party for the Heartbeat Bill on Friday, May 31st. After more than eight long years, obstructionism by some ‘Republicans’ and many heartbreakingly close calls, the Heartbeat Bill, Senate Bill 23, became law on April 11, 2019.
Janet Porter began pushing for the law, which prohibits abortions once a baby’s heartbeat can be detected, in Ohio in 2010. The first bill was introduced in 2011. Since then, 9 states have adopted some version of the bill: Arkansas (2013), North Dakota (2013), Iowa (2018), Mississippi (2019), Kentucky (2019), Ohio (2019), Georgia (2019), Missouri (2019) and Louisiana (2019).
Through her organization, Faith2Action, Janet motivated a nation to respect life once again. A tireless juggernaut for the unborn, the adjectives describing Porter never stopped. Relentless, courageous, fearless were just a few of them.
But she made it clear this night was not about her. Friday’s victory party was all about the heroes behind the Heartbeat Bill, and there were dozens.
Awards were handed out to interns, key players behind the scenes, an intern’s mother (who dropped everything to drive a State Representative to the House because just one more vote was needed), Pastors, key members of the pro-life movement and many legislators. The most honored supporter that night was Jesus, “the author and giver of Life,” whose praises never ceased to be heard.
State Representative Tom Brinkman (R- Mt. Lookout) was the first legislative star called up front. Brinkman had been on board from the very beginning and was co-sponsor of every version of the bill that was drafted when he was a member of the House.
Next up was former State Representative Christina Hagan-Nemeth (R-Marlboro Township). She became the primary sponsor, along with Lynn Wachtmann (R-Napoleon) in 2013. Wachtmann had been the lead sponsor alone the year before, with Hagan as a co-sponsor. She led the charge in the 130th General Assembly, the 131st and the 132nd. Then in December 2018, House Bill 258 came within one vote of passing with a veto-proof majority. Governor John Kasich has promised to kill it. But it was actually stopped by then State Senator Bill Beagle (R-Tipp City), who had supported the bill every other time it came up for a vote.
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The next legislator to be honored with the Heartbeat Champion Award was State Representative Candice Keller (R-Middletown). Keller, Executive Director of Community Pregnancy Center in Middletown, was a faithful co-sponsor of Heartbeat, a life-long supporter of the unborn and joint sponsor of the last House version of Heartbeat: House Bill 68.
The last State Representative to be honored was Ron Hood (R-Ashville). Hood, along with Porter’s most valuable ally in the fight, Lori Viars, were declared to be the MVPs of the Heartbeat Battle. Hood and Viars stood by Porter in every struggle, from Porter’s early days with Ohio Right to Life working to end partial-birth abortion through the current battle to end Roe v. Wade with Heartbeat. Hood and Porter had just recorded a show with Jim Bakker the week before about Heartbeat and what needs to happen next.
The “Heartbeat Hero” Award will be given to State Senator Kristina Roegner (R-Hudson) who sponsored Senate Bill 23, the bill which ultimately passed both chambers and was signed by Governor Mike DeWine just 4 months after John Kasich’s veto. Roegner was out of the country for the Victory celebration.
The wrap up came with a keynote speech from Congressman Steve King (R-IA-04). Congressman King introduced the first heartbeat bill in Congress. He shared that Phyllis Schlafly was a tremendous influence on his life, she was, “The driving force who gave me clarity of thought and clarity of conscience.” When Schlafly passed away in September of 2016, King wanted to honor her, and he knew to introduce the Heartbeat Bill in Congress, pushing it with Janet Folger Porter’s help, was the way to do it.
While Congress was unable to pass Heartbeat, momentum is building nationwide. Michigan is in process and Nebraska may be close behind. Prophetic voice Dutch Sheets has prophesied that 28 states will enact Heartbeat Bills before this movement is over. And it all started with a God-fearing, Jesus-loving, unstoppable protector of babies in the womb, Janet Folger Porter, a woman “For such a time as this.”
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