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Advocates: Women’s Health Under Attack in Ohio

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PHOTO: Provisions in the recently enacted state budget limit womenís access to abortions, and some are worried itís just the beginning of lawmakers making decisions that should be left to women and their doctors. Photo: protest sign. Courtesy Innovation Ohio.
PHOTO: Provisions in the recently enacted state budget limit womenís access to abortions, and some are worried itís just the beginning of lawmakers making decisions that should be left to women and their doctors. Photo: protest sign. Courtesy Innovation Ohio.
August 22, 2013

COLUMBUS, Ohio - Women's advocates have warned that the state's recently enacted budget set the clock back for women seeking access to affordable health care in Ohio - and they are concerned about what is to come. Several measures limiting reproductive rights made it into the state budget, including a provision that forbids abortion clinics from entering into transfer agreements with public hospitals.

Dale Butland, communications director with the policy group Innovation Ohio, said that regulation was designed to make it harder for the clinics to operate.

"By outlawing transfers between abortion clinics and public hospitals, the legislature is clearly trying to simply shut down access to abortions for women - even though it is a constitutional right," Butland charged.

Two abortion clinics in Toledo already have closed, he noted, forcing women to drive to Columbus, Cleveland or Akron if they need an abortion. The state budget also includes a requirement that doctors test for a fetal heartbeat before performing an abortion, prohibits rape clinics from counseling victims on abortion options and cuts funding to Planned Parenthood.

A budget is supposed to be about how much the state spends and how much it takes in; it is no place for this type of legislation, Butland said. He expressed worry about future threats to women's health choices.

"Many women are young enough so they've never known a time when their rights are not there," he said. "But if they're not careful, they're gonna wake up one day and see their rights are gone. That's why women, in particular, need to start exercising some vigilance."

Supporters of the measures, including Ohio Right to Life, applauded the governor and legislature. According to them, low-income women and pregnant women now will receive greater care and their unborn children will have a much greater opportunity to be born healthy.


Mary Kuhlman, Public News Service - OH