Fresh off a historical electoral spanking that came courtesy of a female and non-white majority electorate, many Republicans are licking their wounds, wondering what went wrong, and how they can fix it. Maybe don't say so much horrible shit about rape next time? Maybe don't assume that everyone hates Mexicans as much as Jan Brewer? Maybe don't be a bloodless caricature? Maybe don't say the word "freedom" every five seconds and then systematically attempt to take freedom away from women and gay people? But apparently Republicans in Ohio still don't get it — without even waiting for a weekend to go by, they've already started to move on the so-called "Heartbeat Bill," which, if passed, would be the most restrictive abortion ban in the country. And, as an added bonus, there's no exception for rape victims.
During the circus debate of HB 125, which would ban all abortions after the detection of a fetal heartbeat, anti-abortion groups called a human fetus to testify. The idea was that they'd have a woman (baby-house) sit there and get an ultrasound, live in front of a bunch of uncomfortable state legislators, and as the itty-bitty heartbeat was heard and broadcast to the chamber, everyone's minds would change about forcing victims of incest to give birth. But when they tried to perform the ultrasound, the fetus wasn't really into it and the only sounds they could detect were muffled maybe-heartbeats.
Undaunted, GOP'ers pressed on and passed the bill anyway. But by then, there'd been enough of an outcry that the Republican Senate leader tabled the legislation. And we thought we were done with it.
But like a horror movie monster, the thing has reared its head again, and pro-life groups have apparently decided that they're going to continue to exist in the alternate reality they've created for themselves, a reality where the majority of Americans are just hunky-dory with the government poking and prodding around in women's bodies. Even though nearly every legislator who said something weird about rape and abortion was voted out by their disgusted constituents, uh, three days ago.
According to the Cincinnati Community Press, during the "lame duck" session, the Ohio Senate will pick the bill up again, this time with some changes that are still being hammered out by two Ohio anti-abortion groups. And even though voters have roundly rejected candidates because they've express views exactly like the views that would be enshrined into law if the bill passed and even though another Ohio anti-abortion group has refused to endorse the Heartbeat Bill because it would almost certainly be laughed out of a courtroom if challenged, other groups are still chasing that anti-abortion windmill.
On the other hand, Faith2Action, a group formed by local chapters of Ohio Right to Life, including those in Cincinnati, Clermont and Warren counties, and other organizations pushed for passage of the bill by the Ohio House in 2011. It said the time was right to pass a tougher abortion measure, even though similar efforts in other states failed.
"I think we're close," said Mike Gonidakis, president of Ohio Right to Life.
Close to what? Wasting lawmakers' time and taxpayer money on a bill that, even if passed and signed into law by Ohio's governor, won't possibly stand up to judicial muster? Congrats.
In the weeks leading up to the election, when Peggy Noonan couldn't shut up about "vibrations" and Joe Scarborough endlessly barked about math being wrong, I kept thinking of The Three Christs of Ypsilanti, this totally unethical psychological case study a psychiatrist conducted on three mental institution residents who thought they were Jesus Christ in the 1950's. In a series of group therapy sessions, the three Christs were forced to confront one another and come up against another delusion that conflicted with their own delusions. But rather than realizing that their personal beliefs were wrong, all three patients eventually rationalized their delusions by convincing themselves that it was the other two Christs who were delusional, not them. None of the Christs left the experiment thinking that they were not in fact Jesus.
Ohio Republicans were just confronted with a stark, clear reality check. But it seems that instead of learning and growing and adjusting to an unpalatable reality, they're doubling down.