Ohio Abortion Bill Contains Unprecedented Restrictions

By Gail Yamner

Sunday, surrounded by a group of male legislators, Ohio Gov. John Kasich (R) signed a budget bill that effectively threatens the health and welfare of 50 percent of his state. With no debate on the amendments and no notice, this budget contains some of the most restrictive abortion language in the country. Amid the clapping of the males, Kasich posed for a photo op, signed the bill, rose and refused to take any questions on the last minute amendments, which he could have line-item vetoed.
Men applauded and women lost.
They lost some basic safety provisions to their health. The most egregious part allows a woman to die for exercising her legal right to an abortion. I guess all life is not precious to the Ohio legislators. The bill mandated that clinics that provide abortion services will also be required to obtain transfer agreements with local hospitals, but in an astounding turn about, the budget bans public hospitals from making those agreements.
So, if  a medical issue were to arise during an abortion, a woman would have to find a private hospital to treat her. Many of these are owned by the Catholic Church, which has its own set of rules against abortion and the consequences from one. There is a Federal law that says no hospital may turn away a pregnant women in distress but it seems Ohio is above established Federal law.
A Toledo clinic has already been forced to shut its doors when it could not reach an agreement with a local hospital. According to the  Plain Dealer, in clinics that somehow manage to stay open, physicians legally have  to provide materials informing women seeking abortions of the fetus’ “probable anatomical and physiological characteristics” during various stages of development. Doctors must also give women additional information on family planning alternatives if a heartbeat can be detected, regardless of whether the physician believes this is the right medical information or has a medical ethical question about delivering false information.
The travesty continues with the legislature changing the definition of pregnancy. The budget defines “fetus” as the “human offspring developing during pregnancy from the moment of conception,” meaning before the fertilized egg attaches to the uterine lining. This language could be used to make illegal certain forms of contraception, like an IUD, in the state of Ohio, writes Maddow Blog’s Steve Benan. It might also extend to certain birth control pills.  
Once again, state legislators are over reaching in their authority. With no medical expertise or scientific backing they have empowered themselves to invade medicine and women’s bodies.
The invasion I refer to is the new law that mandates an ultrasound prior to a legal abortion. The woman has to pay for this mandated, non-medically necessary procedure. Ultrasound laws are flourishing in Republican-controlled state legislators. On Meet the Press Sunday, former Senator Jim DeMint  opined that some women want the state to force them to have ultrasounds.
The audacity of males who think women do not understand their own biology takes away my breath. Perhaps, if any of them had ever experienced pregnancy, they would know that women really understand that they are pregnant.  Rachel Maddow  responded “So it’s an invasive vaginal forced procedure that a woman cannot say no to by order of the state government,” Maddow continued. “And that is all right with you. I understand that. You feel that you’ve got an interest strong enough to override a woman’s desire to not have that happen to her that you can insist that it does as a legislator. But most American women I think are going to balk at that.”
While mandating ultrasounds,  the funds for Planned Parenthood were drastically cut back- defunding this vital organization that provides health care screening for many who cannot otherwise access these services.
According to Reuters, a provision in the budget focuses on rape crisis centers. It restricts what counselors can say to victims who have been impregnated by their rapists. If these clinics counsel victims on abortion options, the budget allows for their public funding to be suspended. This cruel law disregards the horrors of rape and punishes the clinic who is only trying to help a woman who has already suffered a heinous attack. There is no compassion nor awareness of the trauma rape inflicts on the mental and physical health of its victim.
Ohio was able to sign these laws under the radar while the eyes of the world are on Texas and its abortion fight led by state Sen. Wendy Davis. But we cannot allow these laws to go unchallenged. Please support the work JAC does by giving a generous contribution to help in our fight against the very real war against women.