The Ohio House Health Committee yesterday held a hearing to discuss a bill, introduced by Republican Rep. Tom Brinkman, that would completely outlaw abortion in Ohio, with no exceptions. The ban would also criminalize just about everyone potentially involved -- except, notably, women themselves -- including doctors and people who transport women seeking abortions across state lines. More from NARAL Pro-Choice America here.
Speaking of abortion bans, religious leaders in trendsetting South Dakota have been warned by the IRS "that their churches' tax-exempt status could be jeopardized if they campaign against a challenge to a law that bans nearly all abortions in the state, a proposal that could be on the November ballot," reports the Detroit Free Press. Some say the IRS's rules against such politicking -- which have been invoked against both right- and left-leaning religious organizations -- are easily bent or slackly enforced; some say they exclude only endorsing candidates, not taking positions on political issues. (The IRS states that churches "must avoid any issue advocacy that functions as political campaign intervention"; read the Free Press' summary of IRS rules for more about what's allowed and what isn't.) In any event, it looks as if the IRS will indeed be keeping an eye on South Dakota. "The rule against political campaign intervention by charities and churches is long established," said IRS Commissioner Mark Everson. "We are stepping up our efforts to enforce it."