Ohio Budget Bill Hinders Reproductive Rights, Women's Rights

It's (still) budget season down in Columbus, which means some of you are probably slamming a shot of Jim Beam each time House Speaker Bill Batchelder cries "Defund!"

And if that's the game, well, you've got a fairly boozy night ahead of ye.

The Ohio Budget Bill passed through the State Senate this week on a solid party-line vote (23-10). The bill is expected on the House floor for a vote before next Wednesday.

One of the biggest takeaways is the bill's inclusion of amendments that would cut funding to Planned Parenthood and shut down patient transfer agreements between public hospitals and abortion clinics. And, oh, yeah: That funding cut from Planned Parenthood? It would be redirected toward "crisis pregnancy centers." That's a tidy euphemism for groups that actively discourage women from pursuing abortions, regarding of context.

"This proposal will wreak havoc on tens of thousands of patients that rely on these facilities, and could result in 11 counties losing access to subsidized family planning services entirely," Kellie Copeland, executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio, says.

Pending likely House approval, the bill will be further sorted out by a conference committee of three state senators and three state representatives. It's unclear if those members will edit the amendments relating to reproductive rights. One time, they did pull a statewide gas tax out of thin air - a provision that hadn't even appeared in the House- and Senate-vetted bills.

In the end, you're probably better of hitting the Beam than trying to parse out common sense or ideals of justice from the state's budget process.


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Eric Sandy

Eric Sandy is an award-winning Cleveland-based journalist. For a while, he was the managing editor of Scene. He now contributes jam band features every now and then.
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