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Tuesday, Nov. 14, 2023

Woke on Abortion

Conservative states take a turn

This may give the phrase “being woke” a whole new meaning.

I mean, staying awake or being alert has been encouraged or otherwise recommended from the beginning of time, right? “So then, let us not be like others, who are asleep, but let us be awake and sober” (1 Thessalonians 5:6). Or how about Thomas Jefferson, who wrote, “Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty.” Or the English proverb, “Good watch prevents misfortune.”

So when I heard that Ohio voters just outlawed (last week) restrictions on abortion and other procedures that involve reproduction, including gender-transition surgeries, plus removed parental consent and notification requirements for minors who undergo those procedures, I was taken aback. This was a state that was trending more conservative in recent years, after all.

What happened here? Wasn’t anyone paying attention, or were the voters in Ohio asleep at the wheel, so to speak? Wasn’t the Supreme Court’s ruling last year in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization – which overturned the court’s 1973 decision in Roe – clear enough?

Maybe. Or maybe it only served to energize – even more so – those who support the killing of the unborn because abortion rights issues not only prevailed in Ohio last week but also in the Kentucky governor’s race (where Andy Beshear won re-election; he’s pro-abortion) and in Virginia, where pro-abortion, Democrat candidates won control of the Virginia General Assembly.

Since Roe was overturned, abortion rights have been preserved or expanded in seven states already: California, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Montana, Vermont and now Ohio. And there are even more states on the way.

For example, Arizona abortion rights activists are preparing a constitutional amendment to keep abortion legal and to allow insurance companies to pay for it. In Maryland, lawmakers have put an amendment on the ballot that would make abortion a “fundamental right.” Pro-abortion folks in South Dakota are working to get a constitutional amendment on the ballot to end the state’s ban on abortion at all stages of pregnancy. The list goes on and on where the culture of death isn’t dying away anytime soon, despite the Dobbs decision last year.

But back to the question, though, of what happened in Ohio. Some say it was money. Pro-life supporters in Ohio were outspent by almost $40 million in this election, as Planned Parenthood, the ACLU and several Soros-funded organizations fueled a massive, misleading campaign intended to confuse voters. One Catholic leader in Ohio said these pro-abortion organizations “pummeled” Ohio with their TV commercials and digital ads claiming, for example, that if the constitutional amendment didn’t pass, pregnant women would not receive the same medical care in the emergency room if the mother’s medical care resulted in the death of her unborn child. Of course, that wasn’t true at all.

But if confusing voters was the plan, it started with the language used in the ballot initiative itself. According to the CEO of Ohio Right to Life, the proabortion activists intentionally wrote the amendment to be as vague as possible so that stripping parents of their rights and enshrining the killing of the unborn would be on the ballot without actually saying so.

So, what about here at home? What happens next year when some Louisiana legislators introduce exceptions to the current abortion ban in our state, and the millions of pro-abortion dollars poured into Ohio are then poured into Louisiana? Can what happened in Ohio happen here?

It’s not likely with a Republican supermajority and an uber-pro-life governor.

Still, the majority of Louisianans (53%) oppose the current Louisiana law banning abortions, even with the exceptions if the life or health of the mother is seriously threatened or the child is not expected to survive the pregnancy. Only 41% support the abortion ban in Louisiana, with 6% undecided.

Maybe it’s not so much that the pro-life folks in Ohio weren’t paying attention; it’s just hard to withstand the relentless punches to the gut when you are outspent in your own state by almost $40 million from pro-abortion groups all across the country.

At the end of the day, though, we should remember being pro-life is more than opposing the killing of the unborn. It’s about fighting to protect women, to promote families and to elect into office those candidates who are alert or “woke” enough to understand how it’s all connected and to stop excusing – and voting – for those who don’t.

Louis R. Avallone is a Shreveport businessman, attorney and author of “Bright Spots, Big Country, What Makes America Great.” He is also a former aide to U.S. Representative Jim McCrery and editor of The Caddo Republican. His columns have appeared regularly in 318 Forum since 2007. Follow him on Facebook, on Twitter @louisravallone or by e-mail at louisavallone@mac.com, and on American Ground Radio at 101.7 FM and 710 AM, weeknights from 6 - 7 p.m., and streaming live on keelnews.com.


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