Debate Abortion Rules on Merits

Pro-abortion forces in Ohio went ballistic over the General Assembly’s enactment of three new rules affecting the practice. Now the American Civil Liberties Union is weighing in with a lawsuit attempting to have the rules rescinded.

Are ACLU lawyers pointing out some basic injustice in the rules? No. Have they even found an obscure infringement upon civil liberties? No.

Instead, the ACLU is basing its objection on a bureaucratic technicality.

When lawmakers approved a new state budget earlier this year, they included many amendments on a wide range of matters. Among them were three sections involving abortions.

One merely requires abortion clinics to provide patients with basic information – including whether the fetus has a heartbeat. Another amendment prohibits public hospitals from having transfer agreements with abortion clinics. The third restricts state funding for organizations that promote abortions.

Ohio’s constitution requires legislation be limited to a “single subject,” and that rule was broken by including abortion provisions in the budget bill, ACLU attorneys argue. That is the civil liberties group’s sole grounds for objecting to the rules.

We, too, have objected to state and federal legislators slipping unrelated items into bills. But it has become common practice. And budget bills, by definition, affect every aspect of government.

If the ACLU wants to debate the rules on their merits, fine. But the lawsuit is ridiculous in the context of modern government. It should be dismissed.