State Rep. Theresa Fedor, D-Toledo, put on an inspiring display of courage this week in arguing that women must be in charge of their own personal medical decisions and not be critically limited in options by governmental interference. She knows, you see, she’s been there.
Ohio Republicans were on their third try at “heartbeat bill” legislation that would ban abortions once a fetal heart rate can be detected. House Bill 69 eventually passed 55-40 with partisan defections on both side. The Ohio Senate is unlikely to do anything with it, having refused to do anything with it two years ago.
In arguing against the bill, Fedor shared her own, very personal experience. From the Toledo Blade:
(Fedor) became so angry during the debate that she stood up and revealed publicly for the first time that she was a victim of rape, became pregnant as a result, and had an abortion. This occurred years ago while she was in the military, and she said later there were members of her own family that didn’t know.
“You don’t respect my reason, my rape, my abortion, and I guarantee you there are other women who should stand up with me and be courageous enough to speak that voice…,” she told her colleagues.
“What you’re doing is so fundamentally inhuman, unconstitutional, and I’ve sat here too long. I dare any one of you to judge me, because there’s only one judge I’m going to face… I dare you to walk in my shoes… This debate is purely political. I understand your story, but you don’t understand mine.
“I’m grateful for that freedom. It is a personal decision, and how dare government get into my business.”
Those interested should take the three-and-a-half minutes to watch the entire video by following the Blade link.
As Fedor noted herself toward the end, a male present began laughing at some point during her speech.
“I see people laughing and I don’t appreciate that,” she said. “And it happens to be a man who is laughing. But this is serious business right now and I’m speaking for all the women in the state of Ohio who didn’t get the opportunity to be in front of that committee and make this statement.”
This is serious business, and Fedor’s statement deserved the unnamed man’s very serious attention, as well as our own.
The Blade also shared that the bill’s supporters “have resisted attempts to amend the bill to make exceptions for cases of rape or incest,” and that the “backers of the Heartbeat Bill make no secret that they fully expect federal courts to strike it down, ultimately giving the U.S. Supreme Court a chance to reconsider its landmark (Roe v. Wade) 1973 decision upholding abortion as a privacy right.”
I find it difficult to imagine exactly what a Roberts Court ruling on a “heartbeat bill” might look like, at least unless the case somehow afforded the opportunity for Roberts to declare that corporations are not only people, but have heartbeats as well.
David DeWitt is a writer and man of sport and leisure based out of Athens, Ohio. He has also written for Government Executive online, the National Journal’s Hotline, and The New York Observer’s Politicker.com. He can be found on Twitter @TheRevDeWitt.