Despite his primary opponent’s desperate assertion to the contrary
On Tuesday, Ohioans will head to the polls for their state’s primary election, and the results will lay out a roadmap for a crucial election year in which the Republican and Democratic parties battle for control of the swing state — the first major contests since Donald Trump took the state in 2016.
In the Republican gubernatorial primary, voters have a choice between two candidates: Mike DeWine, the state’s attorney general, who also represented Ohio in Congress for more than two decades, and Mary Taylor, the current lieutenant governor, who has been in state politics for just over ten years.
The pressure is clearly on Taylor to knock off front-runner DeWine, who has long maintained popularity across the state and who holds a decisive advantage in every major poll. And Taylor’s intense concern about her chances is showing: Earlier this week, she unveiled a dishonest attack ad, asserting that “DeWine is NOT pro-life.”
This is perhaps the most ludicrous, nakedly deceptive political attack deployed in any recent election. If there is one conservative issue on which DeWine is rock solid, it’s his defense of human life from conception until death. And, unlike Taylor, DeWine has much more than words to back it up.
During his decades in Congress, DeWine received a 100 percent rating from the National Right to Life Committee, and it’s not difficult to figure out why. Along with Pennsylvania Republican Rick Santorum, he spearheaded the successful effort in the Senate to pass a ban on grisly partial-birth abortion procedures — a hard-fought, extremely consequential pro-life victory.
Also as a senator, DeWine served as the author and lead sponsor of the Unborn Victims of Violence Act. “It was the first time that the federal government recognized that when a pregnant mother is attacked, there are two separate people there,” DeWine says in an interview with National Review.
As attorney general, DeWine has defended Ohio’s controversial ban on the selective abortion of fetuses diagnosed with Down syndrome, even after the ACLU and Planned Parenthood brought a legal challenge against the bill. “This is taking a specific, finite group of people who have a disability and singling them out for eradication,” DeWine tells me. “Sadly, the vast majority of babies who have Down syndrome are aborted. In some countries such as Iceland, it’s almost 100 percent. If this continues, you’re going to completely wipe off the face of the Earth children who have Down syndrome.”
But DeWine’s concern for human life extends well beyond his opposition to abortion — though his record on that front has been entirely beyond reproach, and the best of nearly any recent Republican politician. In my conversation with the former senator, his concern for suffering children, both before and after birth, was evident in every political issue he mentioned.
“What he has done in his career is taken his passion for children and his pro-life stance, and he’s turned it into a way to look at the world in terms of how he can make things better,” one source says of DeWine. “This is a guy who wakes up every single morning trying to figure out how to make lives better, because every life matters. There really isn’t anybody in public life that has done as much for the pro-life movement as Mike has.”
“Governments were created originally to protect life, and I think the essential job for the government is to protect human life and those who are the most vulnerable in human society,” DeWine tells me. He says that includes not only the unborn, but also the disabled, and any other vulnerable person or group that might be overlooked or disadvantaged by society or the government.
As part of his effort to alleviate the AIDS epidemic, which he focused on during his time on Capitol Hill, he and his wife Fran have taken more than 20 trips to Haiti. “We had the experience [there] of being with a child who had AIDS and was dying,” he says. “We’d go into orphanages and have children so sick that you were afraid to pick them up or hold them because they were so fragile.” DeWine adds that his work in Haiti and major support for a local school in the country stems from his “belief that these are God’s children . . . wherever they live and wherever they’re born.”
He also views the horrifying opioid epidemic — which is hitting Ohio harder than most other U.S. states — as a pro-life crisis. “We’re losing probably 15 people every day in Ohio dying of an overdose of drugs. This is a question of human life. It’s a public-health crisis, and we look at it as that,” he says.
One key issue where DeWine distinguishes himself from Democratic candidate Richard Cordray — whom he will most likely face in the gubernatorial election in November — is education, where he favors school choice. Once again, his policy position is informed by his encompassing concern for every child, no matter where they live or what advantages they have or have not experienced.
“What I want for every child in Ohio is what I want for my own children, and that is that they find something in life that they love and have a passion for and are good at,” he says. “We have children languishing in schools that are not helping prepare them for that kind of life. We have many good teachers and many good schools, but we need to be aggressive about getting kids into these higher-performing schools.”
Read the story at National Review