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Educators' unions call for efforts to ensure in-person learning keeps students, teachers, families, and staff safe; and an update on hate crimes by state.


Congress passes Capitol security funding; House Freedom Caucus members want Cheney, Kinzinger out of GOP conference; Schumer closes a deal to advance $3.5 trillion reconciliation package; and a new report says investor-owned utilities try to block rooftop solar.

Ohio Budget Additions Questioned as Abortion Rules Emerge


Friday, June 24, 2011   

COLUMBUS, Ohio - Controversial 11th-hour additions to Ohio's $55 billion spending plan would prohibit insurance plans for local government employees from covering abortions and restrict public hospitals and clinics that receive state funding from performing abortions.

Those opposing the measures say Ohio's budget is no place for abortion restrictions. Kellie Copeland, executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio, wants open debate on these issues.

"It's completely inappropriate for it to be in the budget without any sort of public input. When you are talking about women's health care, to not even allow one hearing - it's beyond the pale, really."

Those in favor of the measures point to exemptions for abortions that follow reported rape or incest, or in cases where a pregnancy endangers the mother's life. However, Copeland says it's dangerous policy because there are no health exceptions, which will force doctors to wait until a woman's life is in jeopardy before offering an option.

"The top high-risk pregnancy OB/GYNs at some of our top hospitals in the state are now going to have to take their advice from politicians instead of using their best judgment."

Supporters of the measures say tax dollars should not be used for abortion services. Copeland says the Senate is imposing an anti-choice agenda on providers and putting politics before patients' needs, adding that seven other pieces of legislation are under consideration in Ohio that would limit abortion access.

The final budget must be approved by next week.

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