New Ohio Law an 'Orchestrated' Assault on Women's Rights

Ohio Governor John Kasich (Reuters/Donna W. Carson)

New Ohio Law an 'Orchestrated' Assault on Women's Rights

New measures 'force doctors to mislead their patients and force quality medical centers to close'

Ohio Governor John Kasich signed into law on Sunday several far reaching anti-abortion measures that include drastic funding cuts to the women's health organization Planned Parenthood.

The measures, which were included in the state's new budget plan House Bill 59, effectively strip Planned Parenthood of roughly $1.4 million in federal family-planning dollars.

"These provisions in the Ohio state budget are part of an orchestrated effort to roll back women's rights and access to health care in Ohio. The budget is only the latest in a series of restrictive laws signed by John Kasich that have hurt the women in our state who need more access to health care, not less," Stephanie Kight, president of Planned Parenthood of Greater Ohio, stated.

In addition to the funding cuts, the bill also requires abortion clinics to obtain a "transfer agreement" with a hospital before performing abortions but restricts the clinics from signing such agreements with public hospitals--meaning that in the midst of a medical crisis an abortion clinic patient will no longer be allowed to transfer to a public hospital and will have to find a private hospital alternative.

The bill also requires doctors to perform trans-abdominal ultrasounds prior to an abortion--a proceedure that critics have called invasive.

As the Columbus Dispatch reports:

The bill also requires a doctor to perform an external ultrasound prior to an abortion to search for a heartbeat, and if one is found, the doctor must inform the woman. The doctor also must tell the woman the likelihood of the fetus surviving to a full term.

The bill also redefines a fetus as "developing from the moment of conception," rather than when a fertilized egg has been implanted in the uterus.

According to Reuters, rape crisis clinics are also now in jeopardy. The bill prohibits such clinics from counseling sexual assault victims about abortion. If they do so, they will lose their public funding.

The bill does provide funding for crisis pregnancy centers that are often run by religious organizations and, as many critics say, tend to provide "medically inaccurate information."

Three Planned Parenthood clinics in Ohio will likely close due to the bill.

"Today Governor Kasich enacted measures that prescribe medically unnecessary procedures, force doctors to mislead their patients and will force quality medical centers to close," said Kellie Copeland, executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio.


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