In Case You Missed It: Ohio Now Has Some of the Most Stringent Abortion Laws in the Country
4:15 pm, July 1st | by Colette McIntyre
After all these seasons of Game of Thrones, I should’ve known: this is how the proverbial They get you — lure you into a false sense of security, misdirect you with minor victories and brief moments of happiness, and then WHAM! Suddenly everything is worse than before and you are weeping into buckets, drinking your tears, and then weeping them out again. On Sunday, while feminists’ and women’s health advocates’ eyes were on Texas, Governor Perry, and his damn “special sessions,” Ohio Governor John Kasich (R ) signed HB 59, a two-year budget bill, into law, which contains sweeping restrictions on reproductive rights, including a bold defunding of Planned Parenthood.
In the sneakiest of sneaky moves, i.e., a total Lannister underhanded garbage move, Republican lawmakers manipulated the state’s budget negotiations, slipping extremist anti-abortion provisions into the bill even though they have nothing to do with Ohio’s economy. The new measures were added as amendments to the budget at the last minute, without debate or hearings on the provisions’ effects. The policies are outrageous:
Under the bill, abortion clinics must have a transfer agreement with a hospital, but they are prohibited from signing one with a public hospital. The bill also requires a doctor to perform an external ultrasound prior to an abortion to search for a heartbeat, and if one is found, the doctor must inform the woman. The doctor also must tell the woman the likelihood of the fetus surviving to a full term, and the bill redefines a fetus as “developing from the moment of conception,” rather than when a fertilized egg has been implanted in the uterus.
Further anti-abortion provisions include taking $1.4 million in federal family dollars away from Planned Parenthood clinics, reallocating this funding to “crisis pregnancy centers” that are mere instruments of the right-wing and often propagate inaccurate information, defunding rape rises centers that share information about abortion services, and requiring doctors to deliver a prepared (by Republicans) speech to women desiring legal abortions. With the budget going in effect today, Ohio now has some of the most stringent abortion laws in the nation.
In short, THIS BILL IS INSANE EXTREMISM AND BLATANTLY IMPINGES ON A WOMAN’S CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHT TO CHOOSE. I mean, I’m glad that the budget forces women to undergo state-mandated ultrasounds even though, as Jezebel points out, the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists opposes these medically-unnecessary procedures. You know who also opposes this whole damn thing? OHIO VOTERS. Public Policy Polling’s recent poll found that 52 percent of Ohio citizens didn’t support the budget specifically because of its attacks on reproductive rights. 17,000 petitions were sent to Governor Kasich, asking him to veto HB 59′s unbelievable abortion regulations.
But, nope; although the governor vetoed 22 amendments to HB 59, including a block of Medicaid expansion, he did not touch any of the provisions that effectively eviscerate reproductive rights. He quietly signed the bill into law while flanked by white men and left the room. How quaint that no one who will suffer as a result of these unconstitutional policies was by Governor Kasich or given a chance to voice her concerns.
“Like Governor Perry in Texas, politicians in Ohio knew they couldn’t pass these unpopular measures if they played by the rules — that’s why they tried to bury these provisions in the pages of a must-pass state budget,” said Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards in a press release. “If they thought no one was looking, Ohioans proved they were wrong. Texas lit a fuse.”