Note: Dr. Patrick Johnston is the director of Personhood Ohio, which is attempting to amend the Ohio Constitution to protect all preborn children in the state. This is his response to Janet Porter's WND column "I can see the end of abortion from here."
"You and three others were in a boat in the middle of the ocean. You are healthy and fit, one is morbidly obese, one is an elderly woman with cancer, and one is a child with Down syndrome. There is no food and barely enough water to sustain more than three of you. If the four of you split it four ways, all of you will die. Which one should you throw overboard to keep the others alive?"
This was my first exposure to relative morality as a college freshman. It was horrifying to hear students argue about which person in the boat was most disposable. If placed in certain circumstances in which they speculated more good could be done from their actions than harm, these college students would drown an elderly woman and eat a Down syndrome child.
The advocates of the Heartbeat Bill have proven their willingness to push one person out of the boat to try to save another. How? By way of the bill's exceptions, its inappropriate penalties, and its counterfeit moral standard.
First, let us examine the bill's exceptions. Abortions are permitted for the health and life of the mother.
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Is it ever right to intentionally kill an innocent child? Consenting to the intentional killing of one innocent person to save another is never justified. It is not right or necessary to kill the baby to save the mother. A premature delivery may be necessary to save the mother's life, but every care should be taken to ensure the health and life of both patients.
The bill's penalties are also intrinsically unjust because they treat the preborn as subhuman. If the physician commits an abortion without documenting whether the child has a heartbeat, he hasn't even committed a crime, according to this bill. Only if the physician documents a heartbeat and does an abortion may he be charged with a fifth-degree felony. If anything, this bill assures that no abortionist will ever document a heartbeat before killing the baby. And why is intentionally killing the child treated as a fifth-degree felony? Why does the bill treat these helpless children like subhumans?
Furthermore, this bill specifically exempts the mother from prosecution. Why does the bill exempt accomplices? In Justice Blackmun's Roe v. Wade decision, he criticizes such hypocrisy. Read his comment on the hypocrisy of Texas' anti-abortion law: "It has already been pointed out ... that in Texas the woman is not a principal or an accomplice with respect to an abortion upon her. If the fetus is a person, why is the woman not a principal or an accomplice? Further, the penalty for criminal abortion specified ... is significantly less than the maximum penalty for murder prescribed by ... the Texas Penal Code. If the fetus is a person, may the penalties be different?"
Good questions, Justice Blackmun. The Roe v. Wade Supreme Court may be blind to justice, but it certainly wasn't blind to hypocrisy. The Heartbeat Bill hypocritically denies some preborn children their constitutional, God-given right to life.
What is the moral standard that is invoked in the Heartbeat Bill? Is it the Constitution, which says that the government shall not deprive another of life or liberty without a trial by jury? No. Is it the law of God, which says "Do no murder" in Exodus 20 and mandates a public execution for convicted murderers? No, of course not.
In subsections H, I, and J, this bill specifically cites the federal judiciary as the standard of morality and justice. This bill prescribes into law the supremacy of the Supreme Court over both the law of God and the state and federal constitutions. This bill bows the knee to a counterfeit standard of morality at the altar of judicial tyranny. Thus, this bill is rotten to its very foundation. Its design is not to protect the preborn, not to give them justice and certainly not to please "the Father of the fatherless." God's Word is the standard for morality and justice, and His Word is supreme over the opinions of men, but the Heartbeat Bill gets on the wrong side of God's line in the sand.
Even if the Heartbeat Bill did overturn Roe v. Wade and return the issue back to the states, it would not protect preborn children in Ohio. It is our hope that the Ohio Personhood Amendment to the Ohio Constitution would protect the God-given rights of every Ohioan. Please visit PersonhoodOhio.com to learn more.