Most Americans will be familiar with Janet Porter’s “Heartbeat Bill,” an anti-Women’s Reproductive Rights law out of Ohio, which criminalizes abortion and which was backed by Newt Gingrich and Michele Bachmann, and passed the Ohio State House on June 28, 2011. The law prohibits abortion after only six weeks. Many women don’t even know they’re pregnant at this point, as Democrats pointed out.
Ohio is staunchly anti-women at the moment; the state budget, approved June 28, 2011 by the Senate, bars state hospitals from performing abortions.
One of the heartbeat bill’s staunch advocates is Ohio Rep. Robert Mecklenborg, a Catholic from Cincinnati who represents western Hamilton County. Mecklenborg loved the bill so much he was one of its nearly 50 co-sponsors. In fact, he led the fight to get it passed. He is all about family you see: he is a married father of three.
He gets an “A” from the NRA, a 100% from OhioBusinessVotes.org, and is a staunch supporter of the Ohio Chamber of Commerce, also earning him a 100%. Rep. Mecklenborg also gets an “A” in hypocrisy and an “F” in morality and ethics.
He gave an impassioned speech on behalf of the war on women last Tuesday. Two days later, as 10TV.com reports, his fellow legislators found out this moral paragon was facing “one count of operating a vehicle while intoxicated.” Of an arrest made two months before. But that’s not all.
You see, Rep. Mecklenborg was driving through Dearborn County, Indiana in the very early hours of the morning of April 23 in a car with temporary Kentucky plates when an Indiana state trooper pulled him over. The trooper observed that the car had a burned-out headlight, the reason for stopping this champion of Republican morality. In his report the officer said that he suspected Mecklenborg was intoxicated because he smelled alcohol and the representative had “glossy, bloodshot eyes.”
I said that wasn’t all: Mecklenborg refused a chemical test but he failed three field sobriety tests. He was administered a blood test and charged with drunken driving. This paragon of morality tested positive for Viagra, and not, apparently for the benefit of his wife. Because he wasn’t alone in the car and his companion was not his wife.
His passenger was a 26-year-old woman, Tiona Roberts, a local stripper who works nearby in Lawrenceburg, Indiana. And then there is the little matter of Viagra in his system. I’m sure it must improve night-vision, or some such. It couldn’t possibly have anything to do with the young woman sitting with the intoxicated 59-year-old paragon of morality in the wee hours of the morning, far away from his wife and children.
Mecklenborg took a strict legalistic line in his approach to the issue of Women’s Reproductive Rights. He apparently feels the state has the right to meddle in the private lives of its citizens:
“We have late term abortion bills, partial birth abortion bills, parental involvement bills and informed consent bills. We also have freedom of conscience bills, abortion is manslaughter bills and fetal homicide bills right here in Ohio. All that happens from the time of conception.”
It’s truly amazing how forgiving Republicans are when it’s one of their own who has crossed the line. Gov. John Kasich said in Mecklenborg’s defense, “We have to stop pounding people when they make mistakes.”
But it’s okay to pound women, right Governor Kasich?
For his part, Mecklenborg somehow manages to claim that what happened is a private matter, unlike what takes place in the bedrooms of couples across America, which is a state matter.
This is what he had to say for himself, speaking to WLWT-TV in Cincinnati on Thursday:
“Being human, I have made a mistake and this has caused great hurt to my family, and I’m deeply sorry for that. I’ve served tirelessly and well my constituents and I want to apologize to them as well. While the discovery process in this case goes on, I am entitled to the same presumption of innocence as any other citizen.”
Right, the same way women are treated when they have a miscarrage and are suspected or accused of murdering the fetus – that kind of presumption of innocence.
As for the stripper, Mecklenborg’s excuse was, “I understand the interest in the DUI part, I guess, but the rest is a personal matter.”
Like Governor Kasich, Mecklenborg believes it’s perfectly permissible to publicly shame a woman into not having an abortion, but the outcome of laxity with regards to the placement of their manly genitalia should be private.
Funny that a member of the state government believes he has more right to privacy than the average citizen.
Not to mention the irony of this family values Republican claiming he is fighting to “protect life” and being said by the arresting officer to be “endangered a person” by way of his inebriated state.
Mecklenborg, of course, who is above the law and, after all, a moral paragon, pleaded not guilty. He will have his day in court on July 26th.