The advocacy group Innovation Ohio says the proposed GOP budget measure would “bar Planned Parenthood from receiving funds for … breast and cervical cancer screening, the Violence Against Women Act, infertility prevention, and minority HIV/AIDS programs.”They conclude:
Planned Parenthood is part of the solution on issues of women’s health, helping to reduce the number of abortions. The proposed legislation, which a Republican lawmaker calls “fair and balanced,” is part of the women’s health problem. If Ohio’s Republican lawmakers can’t be part of the solution, they should at least stay out of the way.
GOP To Ohio Women: ‘Drop Dead’
IO Says Assault on Planned Parenthood Would Block Funding for Cancer Screenings, Infertility Prevention, and Violence Against Women ProgramsColumbus: Innovation Ohio, a progressive think tank headquartered in Columbus, today blasted Republican members of the Ohio House for advancing a Planned Parenthood defunding measure that “goes far beyond abortion prevention and ranks among the most radical attacks on women’s health and well-being anywhere in the nation.” The proposed amendment is now part of Substitute House Bill 487 (Sub HB 487), the state’s budget correction bill. Supporters say its purpose is to keep Planned Parenthood from using federal funds to provide abortion services. But under law in effect since the mid-1970s, Planned Parenthood is already prohibited from using federal money for abortions. Moreover, Sub HB 487 goes much further than other bills that were previously introduced (see, for example, legislation introduced by Rep. Roegner and Sen. Jordan). 487 would, for example, bar Planned Parenthood from receiving funds for a number of other programs, including breast and cervical cancer screening, the Violence Against Women Act, infertility prevention and minority HIV/AIDS programs. Said IO President Janetta King: “Just a few weeks after coast-to-coast outrage forced the Susan G. Komen foundation to reverse its assault on Planned Parenthood, Ohio House Republicans have thumbed their collective nose and demonstrated that they don’t much care what women think or need, even if it concerns cancer screenings, infertility, or violence prevention. “And just 5 days after Ann Romney reminded the country that ‘we need to respect the choices women make,’ Ohio House Republicans are effectively telling women to sit down and shut up. “Whether it’s the Republicans’ embrace of the so-called ‘Personhood’ amendment that would outlaw many widely used forms of birth control, their laws to criminalize abortion just a few weeks after the onset of an unwanted or life-threatening pregnancy, or their unrelenting attempts to defund and destroy Planned Parenthood, Ohio women have had enough of politicians who think they know best and have the right to make our choices for us. “It’s time for Governor Kasich to tell Ohio women where he stands. If Sub HB 487 lands on his desk, will he or won’t he sign it? And when Mitt Romney comes to Ohio later this week, he too should take a position. Does he support this amendment or does he ‘respect the choices women make?’
Earlier this week we posted about the ongoing war on women and dangerous bills, infringing on the basic rights of women, at both the state and national level. Along with these bills there has been escalating rhetoric regarding women and their access to basic health care such as birth control. Yesterday, Rush Limbaugh continued his vicious attack on Sandra Fluke, a Georgetown law student who was denied the opportunity to testify at the Congressional hearing regarding contraception. Among other things Limbaugh called Fluke a “slut” and a “prostitute.” [Read more…]
Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine joined the chorus of conservative politicians who campaigned on economic issues but have shifted their focus to limiting health care options for women.
DeWine Thursday announced that he is joining AGs from six other states in filing a lawsuit that challenges President Obama’s requirement for birth control coverage for employees – including those of Catholic institutions. The lawsuit contends the requirement violates the religious liberty of Catholic hospitals and other church-affiliated entities. The Catholic Health Association and the Association of Jesuit Universities and Colleges support the president’s decision – which requires insurance companies – not Catholic Institutions – to provide the coverage.
DeWine’s election-year decision comes just days after he abandoned his support for GOP presidential hopeful Mitt Romney in favor of the more socially conservative Rich Santorum, who has spoken out against contraception, urged women who become pregnant from a rape to look at that pregnancy as a “gift from God,” and said he opposes prenatal testing during pregnancy but positive tests result in too many abortions.
The new emphasis on limiting women’s health care options has energized women and inspired late-night comedy writers, particularly after a Congressional panel convened a hearing on reproductive rights but failed to invite any women to join.
The absence of women caught the attention of Saturday Night Live’s, “Oh Really? with Seth and Amy.’’ Amy mocked the all-male panel saying, “that would be like not inviting any men to a congressional committee debating the Maxim Top 100.’’
In Ohio, legislation to restrict abortions and limit birth control options continues to among lawmakers’ top priorities.
Just last week, the chair of the House Health and Aging Committee added a provision to a bill that bans physician assistants from inserting or removing and IUD, considered a common and safe method of birth control. Committee chair Rep. Lynn Wachtmann told The Plain Dealer he included the provision because of his belief that a fertilized egg is a human life. IUDs prevent pregnancies by not allowing fertilized eggs to implant in the uterus.
Next week, Wachtmann’s committee is scheduled to take up a bill to defund Planned Parenthood.
ISSUE 3 THREATENS ABORTION RESTRICTIONS IO Says Anti-Abortion Laws May Be Amendment’s “First Casualty”Columbus—Innovation Ohio, a progressive think tank headquartered in Columbus, says that a hearing later today in the Senate Insurance, Commerce and Labor Committee provides “concrete evidence that the passage of Issue 3 may thwart key parts of the conservative agenda.” The hearing is on HB 79, which would prohibit non-therapeutic abortion coverage from being included in any health care plan offered through the “insurance exchanges” that Ohio and other states will create under the federal Affordable Care Act. The House has already passed the bill. The problem for conservatives is not with the ACA, which specifically allows states to prohibit the sale of insurance policies covering abortion if they choose. The problem is with Issue 3, which was added to the state Constitution in November and stipulates—under Section 21 (B) and (C)—that Ohio may not “prohibit the sale or purchase of health care or health insurance.” Both because abortion is a “health care” procedure and because Issue 3 prevents any prohibitions on the “sale or purchase of health insurance”, many legal experts believe HB 79 is unconstitutional. Testimony to that effect is expected at the 4:00pm hearing today. Said IO President Janetta King: “It is ironic that Governor Kasich, along with virtually every other ‘pro-life’ office-holder and even the Ohio Right to Life organization itself, endorsed Issue 3 and urged voters to pass it. “In so doing, they ignored repeated warnings, not just from Innovation Ohio, but also from legal scholars and every major newspaper in the state, that the amendment’s careless and poorly drafted language would open a Pandora’s Box of ‘unintended consequences’ affecting numerous other Ohio laws, rules and regulations. “On September 1, Innovation Ohio, along with two distinguished law professors from Case Western University, issued a report entitled “Bad Medicine: Unintended Consequences of Issue 3.” On October 26, IO released a second report called ‘Why Conservatives Should Oppose Issue 3.’ Both reports specifically cited anti-abortion legislation as a likely casualty of the proposed amendment. “Perhaps conservatives are counting on Issue 3’s ‘exceptions’ provisions to save HB 79 and other anti-abortion legislation such as HB 125, the so-called “Heartbeat bill.” If so, they will be disappointed. None of these laws was in effect prior to March 19, 2010. None are designed to ‘deter fraud.’ Trying to re-define abortion as ‘wrongdoing’ would fly in the face of multiple U.S. Supreme Court rulings that the procedure is a protected legal right. And prohibiting the sale of certain kinds of ‘health insurance’ directly contravenes specific language in Section 21. “And yet, despite multiple warnings, ‘pro-lifers’ from Gov. Kasich on down stubbornly persisted; Ohio Right to Life even reaffirmed its Issue 3 endorsement in response to the IO reports. “In other words, Gov. Kasich, Ohio Right to Life, and the rest of the state’s ‘pro-life’ community have no one to blame but themselves. It is they who irresponsibly put politics and rank partisanship ahead of prudence and common sense.”
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