Governor Kasich signed the so-called “Boater Freedom Act” yesterday, a bill that prevents law enforcement officers from stopping boaters unless the officer has a “reasonable suspicion” that the operator of the boat has broken the law.
Republicans cheered the new “freedoms”…
“We don’t want a willy-nilly operation that just stop people and give them a hard time,” said Governor Kasich.
The new law “eliminates these intrusive searches,” said Republican State Rep. Damschroder, the bill’s sponsor.
Because if there’s anything Ohio’s Republicans hate it’s “intrusive searches” – unless, of course, those searches are focused on women’s reproductive systems.
So while Ohio’s boaters are now free to roam the state’s waterways without worry of being stopped and searched, Ohio’s women will soon face some of the most extreme and intrusive anti-choice laws in the country thanks to the same Ohio Republicans.
The new anti-abortion provisions, signed into law by Governor Kasich last Sunday, will force women to sign a state-mandated consent form and to receive an ultrasound prior to getting an abortion. The laws also aim to shut down women’s health clinics that offer abortions and to defund women’s health organizations.
Some of the new language came directly from State Rep. Lynn Wachtmann’s “Heartbeat Bill”. In January, Wachtmann promised he would keep pushing for the heartbeat legislation, which would effectively outlaw nearly all abortions by banning them after a fetal heartbeat is detected, because… hey, Wachtmann doesn’t have a uterus so why should he care?
Wachtmann does, however, have a boat. And, as we’ll see, a history of maritime merrymaking.
Back in 2000, Wachtmann was arrested in Michigan for cruising around on his boat while drunk. After being stopped by a marine officer and miserably failing a series of field sobriety tests, Wachtmann blew a .14 on the breathalyzer – well over Michigan’s limit of .08.
Wachtmann was arrested and booked at the Branch County Jail. (Sadly we don’t have a video, but you can read the incident report here. )
Wachtmann was a cosponsor of HB29 - the “Boater Freedom” bill we mentioned earlier – a bill that may have prevented law enforcement officers from stopping and arresting him had the incident occurred in Ohio.
Meanwhile, Lynn Wachtman has vowed to continue fighting to strip Ohio’s women of their reproductive rights.
Freedom for drunk boaters! Forced ultrasounds for Ohio’s women!
Ladies and gentlemen: this is the Ohio Republican Party.