As his legislative career winds down, Senate President Tom Niehaus did the right thing:  He decided NOT to pass legislation to defund Planned Parenthood AND not to allow the extremists in his party to pass an unconstitutional bill intended to ban all abortions.

It didn’t stop there. According to the Toledo Blade, Niehaus went on to actually defend Planned Parenthood:  “I think you have to look at the entirety of the work that’s done by Planned Parenthood, and I believe that they offer much needed services that are not available other places, so I chose not to take up the bill in lame duck.”

Whether his motivation was watching the GOP get thumped after waging its War on Women OR simply an aversion to passing unpopular bills during the lame-duck session without proper hearings,  Niehaus’ actions were good policy, good process and good politics.

As the usually circumspect Niehaus explained his point of view, Ohio’s usually mouthy governor has remained silent. Seriously. This is the same governor who used his first post-election presser to say, “If you’re not on the bus, we’ll run over you with the bus. And I’m not kidding.”

Reporters have repeatedly asked Gov. Kasich simple questions: If the defund Planned Parenthood bill came to your desk, would you sign it? If the heartbeat bill came to your desk would you sign it? Simple, straight forward questions to a governor who fancies himself as blunt and courageous. He won’t comment other than to have his staff repeat that he is “pro life.’’

If you fall within the 71% of Ohioans who support abortion under some circumstances, don’t celebrate just yet.

Senate Republicans’ voted to replace Neihaus with Keith Faber, one the chamber’s most conservative, anti-choice lawmakers.

Faber supports the bill to defund Planned Parenthood and the so-called heartbeat bill – one even many staunch anti-abortion crusaders say is unconstitutional.

His website’s Issues link tells you he is proud to have championed legislation to:

  • ban late-term abortions in Ohio
  • place limits on the use of RU-486 across our state
  • allow pharmacists and health workers of conscious to refuse distributing drugs that cause abortion or terminate pregnancies following conception
  • strengthen the state’s parental consent laws
  • prohibit taxpayer dollars to be used toward abortions under the provisions of “Obamacare”
  • prohibit the use of taxpayer dollars from being used for abortions at Ohio’s public hospitals and barred the coverage for abortions from public employee health care plans
  • protect pro-life and Christian college groups from being banned on campuses
  • require the Health Department to apply for abstinence education grants for our schools

Did you see anything on that list about jobs?

So let’s stop for just a moment and savor the political courage of Senate President Niehaus. Then let’s find ways to keep the heat on Faber, Kasich and House Speaker Bill Batchelder.  NEVER in Ohio history has the state been in the hands of such extreme politicians who view women with such disdain.