This bill will ban all abortions once a fetal heartbeat is detected. This could ban abortion as early as 6 weeks into pregnancy- a point before most women even know that they are pregnant. The bill also includes additional reporting requirements and medically unnecessary inspections by the Ohio Department of Health.
This bill has a dangerously narrow exception for women's health, and no exceptions for victims of rape or incest or terminations necessary because of fatal fetal anomalies. These dangerously narrow exceptions will put women's lives at risk.
Signed into law by Gov. Kasich 6/31/13; provisions go into effect 9/30/2013
The state budget has three major provisions that will limit access to reproductive health care in Ohio:
Defunding Planned Parenthood and other family planning providers: The budget will "re-prioritize" funding passed through the Ohio Department of Health and Ohio Department of Job and Family Services, putting health departments at the top and family planning specialty clinics at the bottom. This would result in the defunding of Planned Parenthood and four independent family planning providers (which provide services in nine counties: Lake, Ashtabula, Geauga, Lorain, Jefferson, Licking, Fairfield, Perry, and Muskingum). This is a solution in search of a problem, the current competitive grant process works, giving money not to who the legislature dictates but to the entity that provides the best care to the most people for the least amount of money. Women go to independent family planning clinics because they are specialists in women's health, and the government should not be in the business of telling women where they can and cannot go for care.
Giving money from the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) block grant to crisis pregnancy centers: this provision would take the limited amount of funds available in the TANF block grant and instead of giving them to women directly so they can care for their children, the Ohio Legislature has decided that the money should go to crisis pregnancy centers so that they can mislead and coerce women who come to them for care. CPCs are not comprehensive service providers, they are ideologically based centers created to convince women to not have abortions by lying and manipulating them. One of the videos we got when we did an investigation of these centers actually told women that "having had that abortion turned me into a crack head whore." You can read all about our investigation of these centers and why we shouldn't be taking money out of the pockets of women and children and handing it to these places here.
Imposing medically unnecessary regulations on abortion providers: Commonly referred to TRAP (targeted restrictions on abortion providers) these rules would solidify Ohio law which requires all ambulatory surgical centers to have a medically unnecessary written transfer agreement in order to be licensed by the state. Yes, the state should inspect and license all of these facilities in Ohio, but the regulations must be based on medical best practices and be provisions that improve patient care and safety. Written transfer agreements are neither. Even Mike Gonidakis, president of Ohio Right to Life said to the Toledo Blade: "the absence of an agreement doesn't mean women experiencing complications in an abortion clinic won't be treated at [University of Toledo Medical Center]… all hospitals, to maintain their nonprofit status, are required to take any patient who comes to the emergency room.[i]” This provision would also make it much more difficult for clinics who cannot get a transfer agreement because hospitals will not partner with abortion providers. It is no accident that the only two ambulatory surgical facilities (which do all kinds of things like laser vision, plastic surgery, orthopedic surgery and other outpatient surgical procedures) out of 267 in the state who have to have variances because they cannot obtain a transfer agreement are abortion providers. These provisions could shut down four or more clinics in the state. Language was added by the Ohio Senate to also ban public hospitals from having transfer agreements with abortion providers, making these even harder for abortion providers to secure.
Forcing doctors to do medically unnecessary procedures: the budget forces doctors to do ultrasounds, even if the doctor does not think they are medically necessary, and also forces them to try to find a fetal heartbeat and give the pregnant woman medically ambiguous information about the viability of the pregnancy based solely on the detection (or lack of detection) of a fetal heartbeat.
Restricting the type of counseling that rape crisis centers can give: the budget funds rape crisis programs for the first time ever, 2 million dollars over the next 2 years. Unfortunately the funding comes with a price, in order to get the funding a rape crisis program cannot counsel for or refer to abortion care.