Bob Frantz interviewed State Rep. Candace Keller about the recently passed Heartbeat Bill, on 1420 AM the Answer WHK on Thursday.
Here’s the transcript:
Frantz: Certainly there are a lot of important faith-based organizations that helped to accomplish what was accomplished last week in Columbus. As our state legislature and our governor combined to finally win for life. The Heartbeat Bill is now law. I know a lot of faith-based people in this listening audience who are not just faithful themselves but belong to groups and there are faith-based organizations that have worked very very hard to lobby members of the Ohio state general assembly. The House and the Senate. To protect life. To fight for life. To pass a Heartbeat Bill that would make it illegal for a woman to have an abortion after a second life is confirmed. After a second heartbeat is detected. Indicating there are now two bodies that need to be protected. To separate individual lives that need to be protected. And of course, we know the battle.
This has been years in the making. It passed last year before it was vetoed for a second time by Governor John Kasich. Not so much this time. The Heartbeat Bill is now the Heartbeat law. It was passed and signed into law last week by Governor Mike DeWine. And joining us now to discuss this victory on behalf of life is one of the champions of the legislation Ohio state representative Candace Keller joining us here on am 1420 The Answer. Representative Keller thank you so much for your time today. How are you this morning?
Keller: I’m great, it’s great to talk to you this morning.
Frantz: It is so good to talk to you about something that is just so glorious. I mean, this is you know Representative Keller this is not a perfect bill. Because as we know, those of us that believe life does begin at conception. We know that this does not cover the protection of all life. But what a massive step in the right direction given the exact opposite steps going into the opposite direction we have seen in other states like New York. Which recently passed a law allowing abortions to happen literally up until the moment of birth.
Same type of legislation in Vermont. In Virginia they sought to do worse than that. Which was to allow abortion post birth. Which means just the murdering of live babies. While all of that negativity was going on, here in Ohio, you and others just kept plodding for trying to take massive steps towards the protection of life. Can you tell me about that process and how you feel now that you and believers of life had won?
Keller: Well it’s hard to believe. It was a nine-year battle. Ohio was the first state to introduce this bill nine years ago. This is how long it’s taken us. And since that time seven other states have passed similar bills and I think four are pending. So you’re right. A year ago right now we weren’t really talking a lot about this. And then you know I don’t know, I think the Kavanaugh hearing was sort of the curtain being pulled back on those that really don’t value life.
And then we heard what the Virginia governor said. The New York governor. This movie come out, Unplanned which has turned people’s attention towards Planned Parenthood. And so if you asked me for pro-lifers this is the most exciting time in all of history to be alive. It’s the most exciting time certainly to be involved in politics because we just passed in Ohio the most restrictive pro-life bill in the nation. And the governor signed it less than 24 hours later. He was signing it. So you know it’s a tremendous victory. It’s not over. But we don’t quit until we win. And that’s what we did.
Frantz: Can you shine a little spotlight, if you’re able to on some of the groups that worked with you and that as I mentioned lobbied and prodded and continued to try to push various votes across the finish line to get this thing done. I know there are higher value voters is one of the organizations. I mean this is a true example, is it not Representative Keller of grassroots work getting it done?
Keller: It took so many people. It took years and really hundreds of people. (Inaudible talk) is a really key organization. And you know Janet Porter is the architect of this bill. This is a people’s house. Janet Porter is a people. She is a regular citizen in Ohio who nine years ago came up with this idea that hey when a hearts beating, that’s a person, that’s a baby. A living human being and a mortal soul. And she has been a bulldog with a newspaper. She is absolutely relentless. I wish I had the tenacity that she has had. And every time that something would happen and we would think we have to give up this isn’t going to work again. Time after time she just kept going at it.
And so you know there were a number of great organizations, The Right to Life Action League. We had virtually zero help from Ohio Right to Life. Zero. And so you really kind of find out who really truly cares about life in a situation like this. Because if you think the governors not with you, you’ve got to do it anyway. Or if you think that you’re going to be defeated by a particular group or someone that seems to be a lobbyist that has power. You have to do the right thing. And the right thing is we kept pushing and pushing honestly up until seriously maybe an hour before the vote we were still trying to hold off and keep the bill pure. And keep it, there were no exceptions. We wanted a fourth-degree felony we ended up with a fifth degree. That was not a hill worth dying on. But we kept out exceptions.
There was a lot of argument over changing from a six-week bill to a 12-week bill. We realized that that was going to cost the lives of thousands of babies. We really were tenacious about saying this is a deal breaker. If you change this bill to a watered-down bill that’s not going to save babies we will pull this off the floor. So you have to do this. We stayed on leadership. Our speaker is extremely pro-life. And we just it was a god. It was good obviously that helped us and pushed us. You know what? As Ohio goes so goes the nation. Ohio is called the show for a reason.
You know a lot of states have done this but when Ohio does it, you better believe the nation is paying attention. This might be flyover country and this is the Midwest. No Republican President has ever won the White House without Ohio. The salt of the earth, blue collar, hard-working people, understand technology. And they understand when a heart is beating this is a person, this is a life and we cannot kill babies in this way.
Frantz: You mentioned seven other states have passed similar legislation. Georgia, of course, was especially targeted by Hollywood in the last several weeks saying that if you pass this Heartbeat Bill you’re going to lose millions if not billions of dollars in economic growth through the film industry. They didn’t care. They made a statement essentially that said we care more about film dollars than life. They made that position very very clear. Has Ohio faced anything similar? Either from Hollywood or anybody else. Any threats of economic doom or other hard ships if they go ahead and do something as radical as say save babies?
Keller: Well you know what, if I wanted to live in Hollywood I’d move to California. Hollywood, as far as I know, has not made any threats towards Ohio. Have at it. You know what, believe me our economy is booming. We are buzzing along at lightning speed. And we don’t need Hollywood to survive as a state. So if they want to stay out of here, fine with us. We did have a little push back from the left on this law is going to keep businesses from coming to Ohio. There is no truth to that. No indication that that is what’s going to happen.
People in Ohio, they want a culture of life here. And we’re going to honor. This is really age discrimination if you really think about. A person who has not passed six inches down a birth canal doesn’t have the right to somebody walking around us. We don’t do like that. We are going to honor life here. If they think they can mess up the culture worse than Hollywood I don’t know really what it would be. They can make threats all they like. We are not stupid. We know who we are. We know what we want. Hollywood can stay away if they like. It makes no difference to us.
Frantz: Speaking of the left and some of their obstructions. I have to ask you about one of your colleagues because I’m still trying to process this in my head to understand why she would specifically be targeting African American babies for extermination solely as being exempt from this law. I’m going to quote Janine Boyd, Representative Janine Boyd who said the following for those who don’t know. “I consider the slave trade and how black slaves were once treated like cattle and put out to stud in order to create generations of more slaves. I consider how many masters, sounds morbid here raped their slaves and forced their slaves to have abortions. And I consider how many pregnant slaves self-induced abortions said that they would not contribute children that they had to the slave system. And so I ask you with all of your values to consider that and vote yes to this amendment.”
The amendment, of course, being that African American women would be exempt from the Heartbeat Bill and they can go ahead and abort as many of their own babies as they wish. I’m almost at a loss. I’m never at a loss for words. I’ve been in talk radio for 21 years. I don’t know how to respond to that Representative Keller, do you?
Keller: Well we received that amendment only 24 hours before the vote. So when we went into caucus which is our meeting we have before the vote. We were an amendment. We didn’t know what to think of it. To me it appears it would be increasing the number of African American babies being aborted. Now the African American population in this nation across the board is right at about twelve percent nationally. And in Ohio, that’s about right where it’s at. And yet black women are seeking thirty eight percent of their pregnancies end in abortion. So when you’re twelve percent of the population and you’re aborting four out of ten of your babies, this is utter self-annihilation.
Now 62 percent of abortion facilities are intentionally set in minority neighborhoods. So when I read the amendment I thought Margaret Sanger would be delighted at this. What I couldn’t understand was that an African American Representative and a woman would present such a thing because it is so damaging to the black community. And I will have to say we had a number of tremendous African American pro-life supporters that were in the gallery during the vote that were absolutely horrified at this amendment. They were so disturbed that even after the vote, even after we won and we went out into the lobby they cried. And they said, “We’ve got a lot of work to do. There’s just a definite disconnect here.” And we have to you know, every child, every single child has a right to life. It doesn’t matter the color.
We also have another amendment that also exempted mentally and physically handicapped children. Which again is extraordinary discrimination. And of course, we handled all of those amendments and didn’t put any of them into the bill. It was revealing. It was disturbing. It kind of made me very sad. And very heartbreaking. Hopefully, this is going to be a time now for healing and trying to understand where that kind of thinking comes from.
Frantz: Representative Keller this has been a very easy conversation to have with you because you and I see eye to eye on all of it. But I’m going to ask you one that’s a little more challenging now before you go. Because there are people who also agree with us on the right to life and about all children deserve to be protected etc. etc. But, have said to me off the air that hey have a problem with this particular being a law because of the lack of an exception for rape and incest. And I know that you have heard this for a long time. And a lot of people talk about this on the national level as well. How do you respond to that. The notion that a woman is not irresponsible in becoming pregnant. A woman who was victimized in a violent manner
Keller: Hmm hmm.
Frantz: Is now forced essentially if she doesn’t find out she is pregnant until five or six weeks after the event. She is forced to carry for nine months, and undergo the body changes that a mother does that she had not planned to undergo in a terrible situation like this to carry a baby that is not something that she was responsible for. She was a victim and that this victimizes her further. And that’s what some people have asked. How do you respond to that?
Keller: That is a question we get very frequently, I do. So I’m a wife and mother now and I’m a grandmother now. But when I was fifteen I was raped by a substitute teacher when I was in high school and so you better believe I gave a lot of thought to that part of the bill and considered it quite a lot. What it comes down to is, you either believe this is a life or you don’t believe this is a life. In a way it’s a black and white issue when you think of it that way. So when a woman conceives in a situation like that it’s extremely rare less than two percent of the time.
Frantz: Of course.
Keller: And it’s extremely unfortunate. When you come to the understanding I believe and as I’ve said again through science and technology this is a separate person another person. And under our constitution, every person has a right to live. No one gave you that right. You were born with that right to breathe. No one gave it to you. So they can’t take it away from you by law. And as legislators, it’s our job to protect the citizens of Ohio. Every citizen. Born and unborn. So it’s a difficult, believe me, I get it, I ran a pregnancy center. I get it, I understand.
And incest is a whole other topic that we could do a whole show on. But the truth is that people have a lot of things that happen in their lives they have no control over. Statistics show that more than ninety percent of women when they’ve been raped regret the abortion more than they do the rape because they didn’t choose to be raped but they chose the abortion. And so it’s traumatic all across the board and it’s a hard thing to talk about. It is out there but you know we have to respect life no matter how it comes about. And I think God honors that you know.
Frantz: I know this is tough and I especially have seen groups, panel discussions among people who were born after being conceived of rape. And they are of course so grateful to their parents, to their mother I should say that they made the decisions that they did to give them the opportunity to live. So there are many different points of view that need to be considered on this. And I think you’re right and you mentioned the incest part of this as well. There are entire shows that could be done on this with really well thoughtful and appropriate discussions because there are very significant and appropriate feelings I think on both sides of that issue even among people who believe in the right to life for all.
Listen to the full hour: