A major theme at this past weekend’s faith-based conference The Awakening at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Va., was winning over young voters. During the two-day-long stream of panel discussions, workshops, movie screenings and Christian rock concerts, speakers discussed strategy on how to engage the young in politics (social media!) and social issues like abortion (capitalizing on the teen urge to revolt and fight for a cause).
When Ohio-based radio personality and anti-abortion rights activist Janet Folger Porter talks about using the young to help criminalize abortion in this country, she’s talking about the very young.
It was Porter’s group, Faith2Action, that in early March called a nine-week-old fetus to testify before the Ohio House Health Committee in favor of a bill Faith2Action crafted, which would “prohibit an abortion of an unborn human individual with a detectable fetal heartbeat.”
Even Ohio Right to Life does not support the bill, but Porter said she has confidence it will be approved by the House this Wednesday. The bill has almost 50 co-sponsors in the House and made it out of health committee last month. And she noted that potential presidential contender and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee recently gave his support for the bill.
Porter said she doesn’t buy the argument that the bill goes too far in terms of challenging Roe v. Wade, and if it does not pass, she’s confident that some portions of it will, such as forcing women to be exposed to an ultrasound before they can have an abortion.
“What we’ve got to do is stop the killing,” she said.
Porter told her audience that patience and persistence are key to fighting the abortion war and explained that though she supports Personhood initiatives, in her view, success in the anti-abortion rights movement will come after the many incremental changes that have recently come to pass — late-term abortion bans, mandatory parental consent laws, waiting periods and sonogram bills.
But Porter’s confident Roe will be reversed. Watch:
It’s Faith2Action’s position that all penalties related to performing abortions — were they to become illegal in Ohio — would be solely targeted at the abortion providers and not the women having abortions, based on the notion that women have long been misinformed about what abortion really is.
Asked if she thinks people will stop having abortions were they to become criminalized, Porter told The Independent: “Right now there are laws against homicide, but people still die in the process of homicide.” She conceded that abortions would likely still occur, but “there will be less of them.”
Porter told The Independent that more than 100 pregnancy help centers in Ohio that will be ready and waiting for an uptick of women wanting to put their babies up for adoption if the heartbeat bill were to become state law.
“There are people from New York to Chicago who would give their right arm to adopt,” Porter said. “I would love to adopt.”
But when asked if she has firm plans to adopt a child, Porter said she is “seeking God about it” and that she thinks she would like to have her own. One of the obstacles to adopting, Porter said, is that the waiting lists are enormous; however that could change with more restrictions (or eventual prohibition) of abortion.
In the fall, Faith2Action plans to host a “value voters debate” for 2012 Republican presidential candidates. The plan is to get every candidate on the record saying their stance mirrors the group’s stance on issues such as abortion, euthanasia, homosexuality and marriage.
When asked by an audience member who Faith2Action currently supports for president of the candidates that are likely to run, Porter said Mike Huckabee.