Pro-life advocates meet with lawmakers to discuss upcoming legislation

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COLUMBUS (WCMH) – Pro-life advocates met in Columbus Wednesday for their annual Pro-life Legislative Day.

Michael Gonidakis, the president of Ohio Right to Life, said the group’s goal is to advance a pro-life agenda and legislation during this session of the general assembly.

He noted that 66 of the 99 members of the Ohio House and 24 of the 33 Senators are pro-life.

“It doesn’t mean they just rubber-stamp anything we ask for,” Gonidakis said. “We have to work hard and demonstrate why we need this piece of legislation, but we are cautiously optimistic that we can get one or two bills to Governor Kasich’s desk before July 1 of 2017. If not, we’ll come back in the fall and we’ll wrap it up then. It’s a two-year cycle, so it’s a long cycle, but our goal is to get at least one piece to his desk before July 1st.”

In mid-March, Ohio’s ban on abortion after 20 weeks of pregnancy went into effect. While pro-choice groups have said any ban on abortion is unacceptable to them, pro-life groups want to continue passing laws that further their cause.

Ohio Right to Life said it hoped to help pass two new laws. One would ban dilation and evacuation abortions, while the other would give funding to pregnancy and parenting support centers.

“We have so many amazing pregnancy centers here today that help women free of charge,” Gonidakis said. “Ultrasound machines, baby clothing, diapers, formula. We’ve asked in our budget for an additional million dollars to help fund their efforts, and they have about 150 of them in the state of Ohio. So we need to help young women who find themselves with unintended pregnancy, and our pregnancy research centers are doing just that.”

On Wednesday, Gonidakis said, there were speakers attending from cities across the state. The members of the group also planned meetings with state lawmakers throughout the day.

“I know a lot of people say our issue’s controversial,” Gonidakis said. “We don’t believe it is. But you’ll see peaceful advocacy starting right now, through the close of business today.”

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