In a Room Crowded With Duggars, Ohio Republicans Pledge to Reintroduce Heartbeat Ban

Calling it “round two in the state of Ohio,” state Rep. Christina Hagan (R-Alliance) led a Thursday afternoon press conference to announce that the state’s notorious heartbeat bill will be reintroduced in the house. If passed, the bill would make abortion illegal at as early as four weeks past conception (six weeks after the patient’s last menstrual period), before many people are aware they are pregnant.

“We are ready to start the fire again, and we are ready to go to battle for what we believe is most important in this world, and that is life,” said Hagan at the press conference, which was filled with reporters as well as members of the Duggar family, reality television stars who have become some of the new faces of the evangelical anti-choice movement.

“Did you really think we were going to give up? Really?” asked Janet Porter, whose anti-choice group, Faith2Action, was the force behind the original heartbeat ban. “Not gonna happen.”

“In America, it’s always a great day to work to save unborn babies,” said state Rep. Lynn Wachtmann (R-Napoleon), addressing critics who asked why he is trying to revive the failed bill, a version of which has already been blocked in court. “To those of you who say there is a war on women, I would remind you the real war on women is the abortionists, the slayers of the young babies, the young girls in their mothers’ womb, those who take their lives. That is the real war on women.”

Speaking in favor of the ban was Michelle Duggar, matriarch of the 19 Kids and Counting family. With 17 of her 19 children in tow, Duggar spoke against the “baby holocaust” occurring in the United States, a talking point she also used at a Texas press event roughly a month ago: “There is a baby holocaust taking place, where doctors and nurses are paid to take the lives of innocent, unborn children. … If we do not speak up and do something to stop this holocaust, the blood of these little ones will be on our hands.”

Michelle’s oldest son, Josh, was recently named executive director of FRC Action, the political arm of the right-wing Christian group Family Research Council, an avid heartbeat ban supporter.

Proponents of the Ohio ban expressed support for a rash of new heartbeat bills that they say are about to be proposed in states like California and Missouri; they brushed off concerns that all currently passed bans are blocked. One reporter asked Rep. Hagan why the legislature didn’t wait until the North Dakota case was settled before introducing an identical bill. “Because we are Ohio lawmakers,” Hagan replied. (Watch the full press conference here, via Ohio Capital Blog.)

“This was bad legislation a year ago, and it’s bad legislation now,” said Planned Parenthood Advocates of Ohio President and CEO Stephanie Kight in a statement. “These Ohio legislators seem to be obsessed with regulating women’s health care and their decisions. We need our legislators to work toward expanding health care instead of restricting it. Ohioans don’t support this constant chipping away at access to women’s health care, and we will work to ensure that women’s rights aren’t trampled. Decisions about whether to choose adoption, end a pregnancy or raise a child must be left to a woman, her family, and her faith, with the counsel of her health-care provider—not politicians.”

The press conference preceded a Thursday evening fundraiser for Faith2Action, which featured the Duggar family. Also speaking at the event was Arkansas state Rep. Jason Rapert (R-Conway), the sponsor of a heartbeat ban in his state that passed earlier this year but was prevented by the courts from being enforced.

Like this story? Your $10 tax-deductible contribution helps support our research, reporting, and analysis.

For more information or to schedule an interview with contact

Follow Robin Marty on twitter: @robinmarty

  • fiona64

    Gosh, the Duggars must be so proud to have their son named as an executive director for a known hate group. There’s “Christian values” in action …

  • brista

    This is so messed up. Duggars, go back to Arkansas and take your backwoods beliefs with you.

  • motherunit

    The Duggars’ big claim to fame is that they can breed like hamsters. I bet they hate it when other people criticize THEIR reproductive choices.

    • fiona64

      Here’s what always gets me. I think the Duggars are insane … but I’m not out there trying to legislate *their* breeding decisions. Yet they’re more than happy to be the face of doing that to other women. More publicity for creepy Jim-Bob and his slave-wife, ya know?

      • Jennifer Starr

        Creepy is the word. I don’t know if it’s the bad ’70s-style haircut that Jim Bob sports or that smug grin of his that reminds me of all the sleazy televangelists I remember from my childhood in Arkansas. Whatever it is, though, that man seriously creeps me out. He creeps out my mom too–she just about can’t stand to look at him.

      • colleen2

        I believe that in another couple of generations (barring a massive human die off) that people like the Duggars will be almost universally recognized as irresponsible and dangerous idiots.

      • liberaldem

        I’d never want to have as many chldren as the Duggars,but that’s their decision. I simply want them to admit that every woman-and man, for that matter, ought to have the same freedom to make their own decisions as to if and when they have children. Is that too hard for them to understand?

  • anastasjoy

    Having the Duggars on hand to be the face of this bill exposes what it’s REALLY about. It’s NOT about “life,” “unborn babies,” “the slayers of babies,” or a “baby holocaust.” It’s about imprisoning women into a role as breeders and telling women that uncontrolled breeding is the highest mission they can aspire to and everything else is lesser. Which brings me to Christina Hagan. You support this, Ms. Hagan? Then get yourself out of the legislature and start cranking out the babies. In failing to do so, you yourself are contributing to the “baby holocaust,” which i presume included using any form of birth control, given that you had the Duggars on hand.

  • HeilMary1

    Some Duggar kids must be gay because of the family size and terrified of being outed.

    • fiona64

      Of course they are.

      And this isn’t about “unborn baaaayyyyyybbbbeeeezzzz” anyway. It’s just another publicity op for creepy Jim-Bob and his reproductive slave Michelle, who get trotted out as some kind of saint any time the anti-choice need a figurehead. It is an excellent illustration about how much of this movement is really about controlling women by forcing them to remain constantly pregnant.

  • Civilized Man

    Most people don’t realize that evolution is constantly taking place and not all evolution is equal. Some people are still mutating from pro-magnon and neanderthal man. I believe this is what is taking place with this ilk of people, not their fault. They don’t get it and they certainly don’t reach the top rung on a ladder. Why is there this venomous hatred for woman? Why only when in utero? No one cares about the child once born, only in utero is there such hatred, anti woman and even murder, What are we to believe when it is the former slave states passing such horrible anti woman legislation. Recently a two year old girl was taken away from her parents by child protective services in texas because the father was smoking pot at night. She was placed in a foster home and the father complained about the foster care being received. CPS moved the two year old to a different foster care home whereby she was murdered by the foster parent. Where is the screaming and action on this, why aren’t you knocking on Gov. Perry’s door. The majority of states in this country are out of compliance when it comes to foster care and adoption. Why not fix this and save the lives of human beings, future citizens of the US? Why only in utero?

  • ElvisMoab

    Classy work by the legislature. Wachtmann is the very same dirtbag who sponsored a bill that would have entitled his very own bottled water company to siphon off unlimited amounts of water from the Lake Erie watershed. Nothing like a little self serving interest eh?

  • ElvisMoab

    Same wack jobs that called abortion the ” baby holocaust”. Hmmmm, I had no idea that the unborn we’re Jewish. Even the boys who haven’t been snipped yet? This news is really going to irk the Muslims!

  • Jennifer Starr

    You wrote : I find it interesting how Gosnell was defended on this very forum a hero, and when the truth of his deeds became known, no one said ”sorry, we were wrong and did not have all the facts”, instead it was resorted to blaming it on the ”anti-choice” movement. A cowardly and ridicilously transparent solution! Please, do not underestimate our capabilities of deduction.

    Gosnell has never been defended as a hero on this forum; you’re either simply lying or misinformed. And yes, anti-choice policies are to blame for those like Gosnell–when you make laws to drive legitimate providers out of business, desperate women will turn to people like this.

    You also wrote : Babies have been born here in government hospitals at 22 weeks and survived for a number of days with no medical intervention, which is not provided prior to 28 weeks.

    Sorry, you’re going to need to provide some citations to back this up, because I’m not buying the 22 weeks without medical intervention thing–survival before 23-24 weeks is pretty close to zero, mainly due to severely underdeveloped lungs, among other issues. And which country is this? From your description, it doesn’t exactly sound that third-world to me.

    I also call BS on the fact that you claim to be pro-choice–most of your opinions and the language you use is more indicative of the ‘anti-choice’ side. I say you’re concern-trolling.

    • Stadskind

      I will get back to the Gosnell matter at a later stage.

      As mentioned in my other reply to you, a very close family member works for a government hospital and has been part of the medical team that performed abortions (of which at least one was a medical third trimester abortion).

      The baby born was one of a twin. She was however, close to a normal weight for the gestational age, as the twins were in two separate sacs and were not identical. The boy died quickly, but the girl (not my words) “just would not die”. I never said that the girl lived to reach even the toddler stage, I said that she lived for a number of days (two) without medical intervention, which is perfectly true. When the infant did not die after a number of hours, palliative care (i.e. hospice) but no life-saving care was provided, precisely because the medical professionals believed that, amongst other things, the lungs were not yet developed enough to allow for any quality of life, should she survive beyond the hospital, which IS unlikely. But not all infants are either stillborn or live to become toddlers – there is a very wide range in-between. Often these infants survive for minutes, sometimes hours and in some cases, like this one, days.

      I live in Africa, for the record. The hospital is located in an urban area. Simply because a country is not a developed country, does not mean that it does not have any resources anywhere.

      • fiona64

        Oh, so a “friend” told you an anecdote.

        Okay. Yeah, that’s a citation … that not even a high school debate coach would accept as evidence.

      • Melooley

        For what it’s worth, when asked what country you live in, “Africa” is not a valid response. Africa isn’t actually a country. Most people who live in Africa (or have visited the continent, or are aware of the continent) are aware of this.

  • Jennifer Starr

    Additionally, all elective means is that the procedure can be scheduled–it does not mean that it’s not medically necessary. My grandfather’s heart bypass surgery was elective but he needed it to save his life. And your wanting to impose a ban doesn’t make you pro-choice, by the way. It makes you anti-choice and a pretty piss-poor liar.

    • Stadskind

      A very close family member forms part of the medical team who sometimes performs abortions at a state hospital. She is one of the most strongly pro-life people you can get… So I wonder, should I advise her to not be involved in medical abortions (she doesn’t have a choice if the mother’s life is in immediate danger, but she does if health is potentially at risk or if there are abnormalities to the fetus) because YOU believe that it is impossible to believe in the availability of abortions (i.e. not banning them), but at the same time believing in reasonable restrictions to protect the best interests of everybody involved?

      “in the case of an ELECTIVE abortion, not due to medical reasons relating to the mother or the foetus,” – I think that is very clear as to what the intention of the post was, elective procedures which excludes medically necessary procedures.

      • Jennifer Starr

        I don’t know where you ever got the idea that I don’t believe the zygote embryo or fetus is not human or that it’s a ‘clump of cells’. Of course it is human; it would be nonsensical to state otherwise.And a woman who has had a miscarriage or has had to abort a much wanted pregnancy gone wrong has every right to mourn her loss, and I’ve never stated otherwise. But a zygote, embryo or fetus is not the same as a born child or infant, and to give it the same rights as a born infant would mean taking rights away from the woman, forcing her to carry an unwanted pregnancy and reducing her to little more than an incubator.

        • Stadskind

          Mmm, I read through my reply to you quite thoroughly… I never stated your opinions on your behalf, unlike what you quite rudely did to me… I have actually bothered to read other people’s opinions on this matter very carefully. Many pro-choice women have emphatically stated that fetuses are not human. I could of course, give you the links to a few, although you could probably agree that this is unnecessary as I am sure you have seen the same opinions. My question simply asked whether or not you agreed with this sentiment.

          “But a zygote, embryo or fetus is not the same as a born child or infant, and to give it the same rights as a born infant would mean taking rights away from the woman, forcing her to carry an unwanted pregnancy and reducing her to little more than an incubator.”

          I challenge you to feel welcome to go through my posting history and find somewhere that I indicated that a woman should not (within reasonable restrictions and with consideration by the regulators with regards to the method of abortion) be able to choose whether or not to have an abortion. Go ahead…

          “I don’t know where you ever got the idea that I don’t believe the zygote embryo or fetus is not human or that it’s a ‘clump of cells’. Of course it is human; it would be nonsensical to state otherwise.And a woman who has had a miscarriage or has had to abort a much wanted pregnancy gone wrong has every right to mourn her loss, and I’ve never stated otherwise.”

          If you agree with my premise that the fetus is human, and your only possible complaint, at least as far as can be seen from your reply, is that the fetus should not have the right not to be aborted, exactly what was your little diatribe about in the first place?

          • Jennifer Starr

            Exactly what was yours about? You call yourself pro-choice but you seem to have a big problem with most of our opinions and views and write long-winded posts that hit several points without actually saying much of anything. Frankly I don’t even understand what point you’re trying to make. Care to explain yourself more succinctly?

          • Stadskind

            The (especially “for profit”) abortion industry should be regulated better so that serves the best interest of the mother and as far as possible, the fetus.

            Short enough?

          • Jennifer Starr

            Since all medical procedures are for profit and abortion is already regulated, this still makes no sense.

          • Stadskind

            All medical procedures are actually NOT for profit. Part of my argument, if you had bothered to read it, is that the public health sector has a huge role to play to hold unscrupulous for-profit abortion providers at bay.

          • Jennifer Starr

            Yes, actually in this country for the most part they are. The dentist who extracted my impacted wisdom teeth was paid $1000. By me. Should I have been concerned that he was lying to me about needing the procedure just to get my money?

          • Valde

            The only medical procedures that are not for profit are those that are done pro-bono.

          • Amanda Kazarian

            You know what else if for profit? Adoption agencies.

          • Valde

            The person is a concern troll and honestly, you have more patience than I do, reading the drivel coming from it’s keyboard.

          • Dez

            You are a liar. It’s clear you are a force birther spouting the same lies about pro choice women they use.

      • Jennifer Starr

        The definition that I used for an elective procedure is actually the correct definition. And I think that the only person qualified to make the decision as to whether or not an abortion is necessary, medically or otherwise, is the woman who is actually pregnant, her doctor, and whomever else she chooses to include.

        • Stadskind

          I am not quite sure how I can put this more clearly… I did not attempt to define an elective procedure. I said that my argument referred to “elective abortions”, with the exception of medically necessary procedures. Firstly, the definition of an elective abortion and an elective procedure is not necessarily the same. Secondly, even if I had referred to an “elective procedure” which I did not, my post only defined the scope of my argument, not an elective procedure itself.

          I really can’t help but wonder exactly what offends you so much… I still offer you the challenge of finding anywhere that I said that all women should be required by law to carry a pregnancy to term. Do you feel your arguments are not strong enough to withstand any argument geared towards better regulation of the industry (especially the for-profit part of it)? Because that is all I have ever proposed.

          • Jennifer Starr

            Any medical procedure in this country (the US ) costs money and doctors expect to get paid for their services. Abortion is less expensive than childbirth, which can cost five figures, and less expensive than many other medical procedures. It is regulated and it is, especially in the first trimester, fourteen times safer than giving birth. So I’m puzzled as to why you think abortion needs to be singled out for more regulation..

          • Stadskind

            Because not all abortion providers are noble, upright people and even if they are, things do sometimes go wrong. I support ideas such that curettage and partial birth should not be used as abortion procedures, while there ARE other methods available which are much less gruesome. Medical abortion especially is supposed to be kinder, not more gruesome (bleeding to death via dismemberment, having its brains sucked out while still alive…). I don’t support late term abortion which is not medically indicated, for the various reasons I have already described. I see no need to go over them again simply because you felt no inclination to read them properly the first time, before resorting to name-calling and personal attacks.

          • Jennifer Starr

            Things can go wrong with any medical procedure, and lots of medical procedures are gruesome when described. And not all doctors are noble and upright in any field of medicine. Dilation and Curretage is sometimes medically necessary, and there’s no such thing as ‘partial birth’ abortion. If you’re referring to intact dilation and extraction, that procedure was used in medically indicated abortions. I don’t really think you have much of a case here.

          • Stadskind

            The medical industry is regulated precisely because things can go wrong and because all doctors are not noble. There is no reason to absolve the abortion industry of their responsibility or to free them from being regulated. I have no problem with D&C being used when the fetus has already died naturally in utero – that is when it is medically necessary. Simply because things have been done in a particular way in the past, there is no reason not to require them to be done better in future.

          • Jennifer Starr

            The ‘abortion industry’ is part of the medical industry and is already regulated. And I would leave the decision of what procedure is used up to the doctor (and whoever he answers to) and the woman. As I am not a doctor, I can’t make that decision–no one who isn’t a doctor should be making choices as to which medical procedure is best.

          • fiona64

            Firstly, the definition of an elective abortion and an elective procedure is not necessarily the same.

            Yes, actually, it is. I will presume that English is not your first language (Afrikaans, perhaps?) … but suffice it to say that an elective procedure is an elective procedure … whether it’s an abortion or a cholecystectomy.

          • Melooley

            Look, part of the reason we’re responding to your comments rudely–and why we assume you are a troll faking concern–is that you ask questions that seem geared towards making us defend ourselves and our opinions, rather than asking questions because you seem to want to know the answer. A lot of the questions you ask, if you were genuinely seeking information, are answered throughout this website. You obviously have already formed opinions regarding us and our approach to reproductive justice, so most of this conversation is pointless.

            If you’re serious about being pro-choice, and you seriously believe that it’s reasonable to put limits on when abortions can occur, then there’s room for a serious conversation here. We could discuss the best ways to ensure that everyone has access to a safe, affordable abortion before those term limits run out. We could discuss factors that delay abortion, and discuss ways to reduce or eliminate those delays. We could discuss sex education, contraceptive access, maternal/fetal healthcare… so many things! Sadly, though, we aren’t discussing any of those actually important, legitimate topics, because we are just playing the game of finding things to be offended about.

      • Valde

        You’re not being reasonable.

        You are pretending that you are pro-choice while saying that pro-choicers hate women and babies, and that they merely sell abortion because they wanna make wads of cash.

        • Stadskind

          Please, PLEASE quote me where I said that pro-choicers hate women and babies?

          • Valde

            It’s pretty much implied in all of the bullshit you write.

            That’s why you have such a problem with pro-choice, remember?

            WE don’t give a flying fuck about women or babies, we don’t care if babies with arms and legs are ripped apart by abortion, and we all want Gosnell types to make so much money that we won’t regulate abortion clinics.

            You are a pathetic troll.

          • Stadskind

            Character assassinations only show you in a poor light. Feel free to provide any actual substantiated argument.

          • Jennifer Starr

            The terms you’ve been using are used almost exclusively by anti-choicers, and the misinformation and propoganda you’ve been spouting could’ve only been gleaned from anti-choice sites.

          • Stadskind

            How ironic that you are so concerned with my terminology, when you call others “anti-choice” (one of the less offensive terms you have used, by the way).

          • Jennifer Starr

            I think you know what terms I’m talking about, I referenced them in another post. And I haven’t been mean or rude to you in any way.

          • Valde

            Shit has run out of ideas so is tone trolling now. Which is hilarious, because you are always super nice and never insult people.

            Me, I’m rude :)

          • Valde

            anti-choice means forcing women to remain pregnant against their will

            anti-choice also means forcing women to get abortions

            pro-choice is neither of the above

            you are clearly an anti-choice troll

          • Valde

            How ironic.

            Character assassination is all you’ve been doing.

            Jennifer Starr points that out below.

          • Stadskind

            “How ironic that you are so concerned with my terminology, when you call
            others “anti-choice” (one of the less offensive terms you have used, by
            the way).”

            By the way, please explain to me how terms like fetus, infant, baby, mother, etc. is character assassination. I would very much like to know.

          • Valde


          • Jennifer Starr

            You claim to be pro-choice, but the terms you use (abortionist, abortion industry, partial birth abortion) are almost exclusively used by the anti-choice side. And the misinformation and propoganda you keep spouting leads me to believe that you’ve been getting your ‘information/lies’ from an anti-choice site.

      • fiona64

        elective procedures with the exception of medically necessary procedures.

        A procedure can be elective *and* medically necessary. As has already been explained to you, elective merely means that it can be schedule … as opposed to emergent/emergency, which means it must be done now.

  • Valde

    Load of bullshit

    Ignore the concern troll

  • Dez

    Complete bullshit. Actually read the articles on this blog before complaining because clearly you are ignorant of the pro choice community.

  • ack

    I don’t think you understand what abortion in the US actually entails. Quite frankly, you can educate yourself.

    And most people who live in developing nations don’t call them “third world.”