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DeWine, Husted make surprise appearance at Right to Life rally
By Maggie Prosser
(January 22, 2019) — Mimicking the surprise appearance by President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence at the March for Life in Washington last week, Gov. Mike DeWine, first lady Fran DeWine and Lt. Gov. Jon Husted showed up unexpectedly Tuesday at the Statehouse atrium for Ohio’s version.
“One of the essential functions (of government) is to take care of those who cannot take care of themselves, to protect those who are harmed, to protect those who are the weakest members of our society.” DeWine said to the crowd of about 300 at Greater Columbus Right to Life’s Roe Remembrance, commemorating the 46th anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision, which effectively legalized abortion nationwide.
“That includes children who are not yet born, that includes young children, young babies. … This is about laws, but frankly it’s also about hearts and minds.”
DeWine’s appearance, rare if not unprecedented for an Ohio governor, came nine days into his tenure. During his campaign, DeWine said he supported and would sign legislation banning abortions after a fetal heartbeat is detected, with an exception for cases where the mother’s life is at risk.
“There have been a lot of great leaders in the history of our state, and all of them brought something unique to the job,” Husted said. “But there has never — there has never — been a governor and a first lady who have been more pro-family, better advocates for the children — born and unborn — and more pro-life than Ohio’s Gov. Mike DeWine and his wife Fran DeWine.”
After their remarks, the DeWines and Husted greeted children and families.
Attendees of the event included members of the Ohio Right to Life, Birthright, 40 Days for Life, Citizens for Community Values and students from St. Michael School in Worthington. Pastor David Earley of First Baptist Grove City gave the opening prayer: “Move upon the hearts of lawmakers and, God change laws that are wrong, and God give us laws that support life. Give our lawmakers courage to stand up and do what is right.”
Milka Nier, 45, of Galena shared with the audience her experience having received an abortion. She recounted suffering from anxiety and depression after the procedure and years later when her son was born.
“My hope and prayer … is that we would also take extreme action to confront abortion in the church and in government,” she said. “I pray the government passes bills that would place severe restrictions and regulations on abortions. … I fully believe that Ohio — the heartbeat of it all — is the pioneer in taking these actions.”
Nier previously testified to the Ohio Senate Health Committee as a proponent of last year’s House Bill 258, or “heartbeat bill,” and was described as a “champion of the heartbeat bill” by Greater Columbus Right to Life Executive Director Beth Vanderkooi. Ohio Right to Life did not support the heartbeat bill until late last year, when the legislature fell one vote short of overriding then-Gov. John Kasich’s veto of the ban.
NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio Executive Director Kellie Copeland said: ”… Ohioans are perfectly able to make their own reproductive health care decisions, without the interference of Gov. DeWine and his anti-choice cronies. Once a woman has made the decision to end a pregnancy, she needs access to safe, legal abortion care in her community.”
Vanderkooi said the purpose of the Roe Remembrance event was threefold: to pray for unborn children, to extend mercy to those who have received an abortion, and to reaffirm a commitment to anti-abortion efforts.
“Ohio families are suffering, and it is because of the failures of Ohio’s political leadership over the past eight years,” Copeland said during the abortion controversies last year. “Signing oneabortion ban after another, attacking funding for reproductive health care providers — twice — and using the Ohio Department of Health as a political weapon to attack abortion clinics has worsened Ohio’s maternal mortality and infant mortality crises.”