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· June 18, 2013

Legislative ReCap: Ohio Legislature Works to Limit Abortion Access

There’s a lot going on this week, so we thought a quick recap of the different bills that are impacting women in Ohio might be helpful. The conference committee is preparing to meet today, Tuesday, to begin the process of reconciling the House and Senate versions of the budget.  After this process is completed the budget will head to Governor John Kasich’s desk where he will have the opportunity to line item veto any provisions he disagrees with. As we have previously noted the Ohio Budget contains many provisions which negatively impact women.  These provisions would:

  • Reprioritize family planning funds, essentially blocking funding for Planned Parenthood. Planned Parenthood serves nearly 100,000 women in Ohio, providing cancer screening, birth control, STD treatment and prevention, pap tests and health information.
  • Prevent funds from going to rape crisis centers that refer women to facilities or medical care providers who also provide abortions. (HB 108, a separate bill with these provisions ,was also voted on by the House and is receiving hearings in the Senate.)
  • Prevent genetic counseling services funded by Ohio Department of Health from referring to entities that provide abortions except for cases of medical emergency.
  • Prohibit abortion clinics from entering agreements with public hospitals or with doctors affiliated with public hospitals. These agreements to transfer patients in medical distress are required by State law, so without them many clinics will be forced to close. The closure of an abortion clinic in Toledo that could not obtain a transfer agreement demonstrates how this provision could impact the rest of the state.
The budget isn’t the end of policies that negatively impact women. Representative Hood has introduced HB 200, which has been deemed “One of the Nation’s All-Time Worst Abortion Bills.”  Scheduled for it’s first hearing on Wednesday, at 9:30am, this bill would do the following:
  • Increase the mandatory waiting period for an abortion from 24hrs to 48 hrs
  • Require the woman to undergo an ultrasound that would reveal the entire body of the fetus and pay for this ultrasound out of pocket. In the early stages of pregnancy a transvaginal ultrasound may be the only type of ultrasound that would show the entire fetus.
  • Redefine a medical emergency as something that would result in the woman’s death. This means doctors may not be able to intervene even in cases of a miscarriage.
  • Eliminate “medical necessity” as a reason to forego the waiting period.
  • Require physicians to disclose any earnings that would result from carrying out the abortion.
  • Require physicians to give a verbal description of the ultrasound, including the amount of pain a fetus can feel and offer women pictures from the ultrasound.
  • Charge doctors who do not follow these rules with a first degree felony and a fine of up to $1 million.
  • Require physicians to give women information regarding the risks of abortions, including false information stating that women who have abortions have an increased risk of breast cancer. Studies have shown that there is no link between the two.
Both the budget and HB 200 attempt to put enough restrictions in place to eliminate the ability of women to obtain an abortion in Ohio without passing an outright ban.  Apparently Ohio politicians think they know better than doctors when it comes to women’s health. These continued restrictions on abortions are dangerous for women and limit access is a way that soon only wealthy women, who can afford to travel, will be able to have an abortion. Share this post with your friends, women need to be informed about policies that impact them.  Then make sure you call your Representative, Senator and the Governor and let them know how you feel.

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