January 18, 2011 — Many Ohio state senators have decided to return the teddy bears they were given last week by a group lobbying for the state's so-called "heartbeat" bill (HB 125), the Columbus Dispatch reports. The bill would ban abortion once a fetal heartbeat is detectable.
Ohio ProLife Action enlisted children to deliver the bears -- which play a recording of a heartbeat -- to all 33 Ohio senators' offices.
Although it is not illegal for senators to keep the bears, gifts worth more than $25 must be reported on financial disclosure forms. According to the Dispatch, some lawmakers do not like to accept gifts that must be reported or to have to keep track of them for a report that isn't due until spring 2013.
The lobbying effort also was not successful in convincing Senate President Tom Niehaus (R) to commit to the bill (Columbus Dispatch, 1/16). Last month, Niehaus suspended hearings on the measure, saying that numerous amendments have created confusion about the legislation (Women's Health Policy Report, 12/15).
Ohio ProLife Action urged senators who wished to return the bears -- valued at $33.33 -- to instead donate them to a crisis pregnancy center (AP/WTRF, 1/16).