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· January 2, 2013

Ohio women faced slew of negative bills in last Ohio General Assembly – The next one doesn’t look much different

The Joke Was on Ohio's Women: Ohio House Speaker Bill Batchelder (R) in 2011.
The Joke Was on Ohio’s Women: Ohio House Speaker Bill Batchelder (R) in 2011.
The 130th Ohio General Assembly will be sworn into office in the coming days, with only 17 new House members and 2 new Senate members, we can look back to the 129th General Assembly for an idea of how women’s issues will fare in the 130th General Assembly. In the 129th General Assembly, a total of 15 anti-woman bills or resolutions were introduced and just over 60% received a vote in either the Senate or the House. Six of these unfavorable bills were enacted.  This resulted in further restrictions on abortions and abortion coverage. A total of 26 bills or resolutions that were favorable towards women were introduced. However many of these bills never saw more than one hearing and only 15% of these bills were voted on. A bill was 4 times as likely to receive a hearing if it was unfavorable to women. Only three of the favorable bills were passed and two – SB 199 for Metastatic Breast Cancer Awareness Day and SCR 15 Folic Acid Awareness Day – simply designated awareness days and made no major policy changes. Due to November’s election results – and the new gerrymandered House and Senate district maps, we can expect this same trend in the 130th General Assembly. The 129th General Assembly took on a few high profile fights as the house voted on and passed HB 125, the Heartbeat Bill, which would have left Ohio with the most restrictive abortion restrictions in the country.  The Senate ultimately didn’t vote on this bill and it was not enacted. House Speaker Bill Batchelder (R) has said that there is no question that this bill will again be introduced in the 130th General Assembly.
Ohio Right to Life's Michael Gonidakis, picked by Gov. John Kasich to serve on state medical board.
Ohio Right to Life’s Michael Gonidakis, picked by Gov. John Kasich to serve on state medical board.
HB 298, which attempted to eliminate funding for Planned Parenthood, was introduced early in the House and revived following the 2012 election. Several hearings were held and the committee ultimately voted the bill out of committee,  11-9. The measure did not receive a vote on the house floor. This too could be revived in the next general assembly. The Kasich administration demonstrated support for most of the anti-woman bills and has no problem touting his pro-life credentials. Two of Kasich’s three consumer appointments to the Ohio Medical Board have been board members of Ohio Right to Life. Michael Gonidakis, the Executive Director of Ohio Right to Life, was Kasich’s most recent appointment to the Ohio State Medical Board. As Kasich moves into his second term and faces reelection, we expect him to make more extreme appointments to Ohio boards. Ohio Women’s Watch will continue to monitor legislation and policy decisions that impact women as we move into the 130th General Assembly and the Biennial Budget.

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