Ohio Senate Budget Amendment Could Shut Down Abortion Clinics

Today, the Senate Finance Committee accepted an omnibus amendment to the Ohio Budget. Not only did it retain language that would defund Planned Parenthood, it included other amendments which restrict access to abortions so much that they could be challenged in court.

Previous versions of the budget contained language targeting abortion providers,  requiring so-called ambulatory care clinics to have transfer agreements in place with local hospitals. Clinics without transfer agreements in place that do not get a waiver from the Ohio Department of Health would be forced to close, leaving many communities in Ohio without a single provider. Today’s Senate amendment took this one step further and outright prohibits an ambulatory care clinic from having a written transfer agreement with any public hospital or from entering into a contract with any physician who has privileges at a public hospital.  This would greatly restrict  women’s access to abortions in Ohio.

The Senate also added the language from HB 108 to the Budget. This bill, initially intended to create the Rape Crisis Trust Fund and provide additional funding to Rape Crisis Centers, was amended to include language which would prohibit Rape Crisis Centers from referring patients to entities that provide abortions. As we previously reported, there are laws already in place preventing public dollars from being used to fund abortions. It hardly seems right to limit treatment options that are available to women who have experienced a sexual assault.

The bill now moves to the full Senate for a vote on Thursday before a conference committee decides which provisions will remain when the bill hits Governor Kasich’s desk.