2, Blog Post

Ohio Women Condemn Sneaky Abortion Restrictions

John Kasich failed to stand up for women when he signed new abortion restrictions into law tonight. His $71 billion budget includes regulations unrelated to the state’s finances. The new rules for abortion providers handed to the Ohio Department of Health were added without any public input from the department. Abortion providers had no opportunity to provide testimony to any Finance committee or subcommittee.

NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio Executive Director Kellie Copeland offered the following statement:

John Kasich just approved regulatory schemes that were written by anti-choice special interest groups and inserted into the budget through sneaky maneuvers at the 11th hour. These regulatory schemes have one purpose: to remove women’s access to safe and legal abortion. This will hurt women. When women seek abortion, having the procedure be legal and accessible keeps it safe. Governor Kasich’s policies will continue to push women to seek illegal, unsafe alternatives. Today’s signing of this budget bill will make things even worse.

These restrictions are completely medically unnecessary. A transfer agreement doesn’t need a mile restriction because in the very rare case of a medical emergency, the patient will be taken to the nearest hospital. If a variance for a transfer agreement had any impact on patient safety, why did the Ohio Department of Health wait three years before ruling on one last week in Dayton? These are political gimmicks, not health care regulations. Their only purpose is to make it harder, if not impossible, to get an abortion in Ohio.

The budget also continued to harm — not help — the fight to reduce infant mortality. Despite a victory lap by Republican leadership, the final budget simply restored eligibility to two Medicaid programs after being cut by the Kasich administration. They did not increase access to care at all. Republican leadership neglected to restore eligibility to a third program for family planning. Family planning care gives Ohioans access to affordable contraception, which is critical for women seeking to plan healthy pregnancies.

Finally, the budget gives $1,000,000 to crisis pregnancy centers from the funds for Temporary Assistance for Needy Families. This literally takes money from low-income Ohioans and gives it to organizations that are not regulated, do not offer any health care, but do shame and lie to women seeking pregnancy answers.


Help build a pro-choice Ohio. Every day, NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio fights to protect access to the full range of reproductive health care options—including preventing unintended pregnancy, bearing healthy children, and safe & legal abortion care. We educate the public about the real threat to women’s healthcare posed by anti-choice legislation and policies. We mobilize pro-choice Ohioans to take political action to defend reproductive rights. And we are the voice for Ohio’s abortion clinics, helping them navigate the increasingly hostile climate created by extremist groups. But we need your help. As a member organization, we rely on your financial support to fund our important legislative, educational, and grassroots activities.

Contribute to NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio

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2, Blog Post

11th hour attacks on abortion headed to John Kasich, must be vetoed

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Click to Veto

Ohio House and Senate leaders violated a deal to remove a budget amendment that will close Toledo’s last abortion provider. The re-added measure could ultimately end abortion access on the Western half of the state. The budget also strips low-income women of Medicaid family planning care while earmarking $1,000,000 for crisis pregnancy centers. NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio demands Gov. John Kasich remove the attacks on abortion clinics from the bill using a line-item veto.

NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio Executive Director Kellie Copeland:

Ohio women will not stand for 11th hour, backdoor maneuvers that end access to abortion. We demand that Gov. Kasich veto these measures.

A compassionate leader does not sign away women’s rights before jetting off to campaign stops in Iowa or New Hampshire. John Kasich cannot simply excuse his own actions by saying ‘I’m just signing what they gave me.’ He will be responsible when women die through unsafe, illegal abortions.


Help build a pro-choice Ohio. Every day, NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio fights to protect access to the full range of reproductive health care options—including preventing unintended pregnancy, bearing healthy children, and safe & legal abortion care. We educate the public about the real threat to women’s healthcare posed by anti-choice legislation and policies. We mobilize pro-choice Ohioans to take political action to defend reproductive rights. And we are the voice for Ohio’s abortion clinics, helping them navigate the increasingly hostile climate created by extremist groups. But we need your help. As a member organization, we rely on your financial support to fund our important legislative, educational, and grassroots activities.

Contribute to NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio

2, Blog Post

**UPDATED** The Toledo Blade is ON IT.

UPDATE — The Blade published one last editorial before the budget is signed tomorrow. Scroll down for the latest.

We’ve never seen a newspaper rush to the defense of abortion rights in a community like the Toledo Blade has this month. Always outspoken, the Blade’s editorial board has watched and reacted with every assault on rights in Toledo. Northeast Ohio is a hotspot for anti-abortion activity. Before the transfer agreement restrictions were added to the 2013 budget, Ohio Right to Life and Rep. Lynn Wachtmann strong-armed the University of Toledo Medical Center to drop their transfer agreement with Capital Care. That story happened in the Blade’s backyard and they’ve maintained a constant vigil ever since.

We’ve seen frontline reporting and five — FIVE! — editorials in the last two weeks. Click on each link below to read more. We’ll update this post as needed.


Editorial: Assault on rights
6/8/15

Of all the outrageous attacks on women’s health-care choices that Ohio’s anti-abortion movement has advanced in recent years, its latest proposal — a bill that would outlaw abortion after a fetus is diagnosed with Down’s syndrome — is one of the most invasive and extreme yet. …

Leaders of Ohio Right to Life, one of the chief architects of the bill, frame it as a discrimination issue. This disingenuous justification masks the real goal of the anti-abortion movement: to claw back women’s right to choose.

Editorial: Exporting abortion
6/10/15

Because state laws also prohibit Medicaid and plans in the Ohio health insurance exchange from covering abortions, most women have to pay hundreds, or even thousands, of dollars for an abortion out-of-pocket. That has significantly restricted the availability of medication abortion in Ohio, one of the safest and most affordable early-term abortion methods. Consequently, many Ohio women now come to Michigan seeking medication abortion. Ohio is one of just three states to approve such a Draconian law. …

The best solution, for pro and anti-choice Ohioans alike, is to reduce the need for abortions. That starts with making it easier — not more difficult — for women to control their reproductive health.

Editorial: Restore abortion rights
6/14/15

Abortion opponents hope to force another Supreme Court ruling on abortion rights. Indeed, it’s time for the court to step in. If the constitutional right to personal freedom means anything, it should mean the freedom to make decisions about one’s own body. The high court must clarify that now, and strike down invasive abortion laws in Ohio and elsewhere.

Report: Late provision may end Toledo’s abortion clinic
6/18/15

Capital Care Network, Toledo’s only remaining abortion clinic, which has been fighting to remain open, may have received the final blow from the Ohio legislature on Wednesday. In a last-minute move, a provision was added to the $71.3 billion, two-year budget bill that is a direct reaction to a current court fight over the state’s attempt to shut down Capital Care.

Report: Toledo clinic to remain open
6/20/15

Finding that the state had “exceeded its constitutional authority,” a Lucas County judge ruled Friday that Toledo’s only remaining abortion clinic may keep its doors open. Common Pleas Judge Myron Duhart found that Capital Care Network may continue to operate its West Toledo clinic, concluding that Ohio’s law requiring abortion clinics to have transfer agreements with “local” hospitals was unconstitutional.

Editorial: Outlawing abortion
6/22/15

The Senate added these rules to the budget without debate or public input, because lawmakers know most Ohioans don’t support such Draconian restrictions on abortion. The reckless provisions could invite the U.S. Supreme Court to strike down Ohio’s and other states’ unconstitutional abortion restrictions. The high court ruled in Roe vs. Wade in 1973 that women have a constitutional right to end an unwanted pregnancy, but extremist lawmakers in Ohio and across the country have ignored that decision. Many women must travel long distances, and cross state borders, to exercise their constitutional rights. If lawmakers want to open a debate about abortion laws, they ought to do so honestly, not by inserting 11th-hour amendments and hoping Ohioans won’t notice. Their dead-of-night efforts to shut down abortion access must end.

Editorial: Rights relief
6/23/15

The Kasich administration sought to shutter Capital Care Network under a 2013 law that requires abortion clinics to get so-called transfer agreements with local hospitals to handle emergencies. Capital Care Network has such an agreement with the University of Michigan Health System, 50 miles away, which the state argued is not local enough. Medical and legal authorities say there is no need for such a law, because abortion is among the safest medical procedures and hospitals already are required by federal law to admit patients in emergency cases. But neither science nor the Constitution is likely to deter state government’s anti-abortion agenda. Judge Duhart’s decision comes amid increased efforts by lawmakers and the administration to legislate abortion out of existence.

Editorial: Stop abortion extremism
6/28/15

As they did two years ago, Ohio lawmakers want to use the new state budget to trample on women’s constitutional right to safe, legal abortion. If their medically unsupported anti-abortion provisions become law, they almost certainly would shut down the only clinic that performs abortions in Toledo. Gov. John Kasich must use his line-item veto to reject these extreme measures.


Help build a pro-choice Ohio. Every day, NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio fights to protect access to the full range of reproductive health care options—including preventing unintended pregnancy, bearing healthy children, and safe & legal abortion care. We educate the public about the real threat to women’s healthcare posed by anti-choice legislation and policies. We mobilize pro-choice Ohioans to take political action to defend reproductive rights. And we are the voice for Ohio’s abortion clinics, helping them navigate the increasingly hostile climate created by extremist groups. But we need your help. As a member organization, we rely on your financial support to fund our important legislative, educational, and grassroots activities.

Contribute to NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio

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Blog Post, Video

Tell Kasich: Stop this attack on healthcare access.

TAKE ACTION

Dear Gov. John Kasich,

Remove the extreme attacks on abortion providers from the state budget immediately.

Abortion is a legal right. The Senate changes to the bill will make it impossible for abortion providers to serve women seeking a safe and legal procedure. This unconstitutional attack cannot remain in the budget.

The decision on whether to have a child, choose adoption, or have an abortion must be left to a woman, with the counsel of her faith, family, and chosen medical provider. There is no room for political interference in her decision.

Stop this attack on healthcare access.

Sincerely,

[Your name & address here]


Help build a pro-choice Ohio. Every day, NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio fights to protect access to the full range of reproductive health care options—including preventing unintended pregnancy, bearing healthy children, and safe & legal abortion care. We educate the public about the real threat to women’s healthcare posed by anti-choice legislation and policies. We mobilize pro-choice Ohioans to take political action to defend reproductive rights. And we are the voice for Ohio’s abortion clinics, helping them navigate the increasingly hostile climate created by extremist groups. But we need your help. As a member organization, we rely on your financial support to fund our important legislative, educational, and grassroots activities.

Contribute to NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio

2, Blog Post

New attacks on abortion providers in Ohio budget

LegislativeLeaders2The Ohio Senate has added language to the state budget that would shutter abortion clinics in Ohio. They’re making it impossible for abortion providers to get unnecessary bureaucratic approvals and documents that DO NOT improve patient care.

Email your Ohio state senator immediately to demand this language be removed.

This vicious cycle was created by the 2013 state budget. It works like this:

  1. The abortion provider is forced by the state to get a medically unnecessary transfer agreement, but they can’t get it from a public hospital.
  2. The private hospitals all deny requests for transfer agreements because the hospital owners are anti-choice.
  3. The state closes the abortion provider because they couldn’t get a transfer agreement.

The 2015 state budget was changed to make the rules even harder for abortion providers. It will now be impossible for abortion providers to stay open in Dayton and Toledo, with other cities at risk as well.


Help build a pro-choice Ohio. Every day, NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio fights to protect access to the full range of reproductive health care options—including preventing unintended pregnancy, bearing healthy children, and safe & legal abortion care. We educate the public about the real threat to women’s healthcare posed by anti-choice legislation and policies. We mobilize pro-choice Ohioans to take political action to defend reproductive rights. And we are the voice for Ohio’s abortion clinics, helping them navigate the increasingly hostile climate created by extremist groups. But we need your help. As a member organization, we rely on your financial support to fund our important legislative, educational, and grassroots activities.

Contribute to NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio

2, Blog Post

Ohio Senate Playing Hokey Pokey with CPC Funding

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Ohio Senate Playing Hokey Pokey with CPC Funding
Crisis Pregnancy Centers use public funds to shame and lie to women

Today’s substitute budget bill released by the Ohio Senate Finance Committee has reinserted public funds for the Pregnancy and Parenting Support Program. Funds passing through the program pay for crisis pregnancy centers that do not offer any health care to women. Proposed funding is $1,000,000 over two years drawn from Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF).

NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio Executive Director Kellie Copeland: “The Ohio legislature is playing the Hokey Pokey with funding for crisis pregnancy centers. They put a million in, they put a million out, they put a million in and they shake it all about. This would be funny if it wasn’t $1,000,000 of taxpayer money for organizations that directly lie to women. CPCs appear to offer health care, but their stated goal is to scam pregnant women who think they can get answers on abortion options.”

Copeland continued: “The budget also fails to include family planning coverage for low-income women through a Medicaid Optional program. The Kasich administration rolled back eligibility in that program from 200% of the Federal Poverty Level to 138% FPL. Family planning care helps women avoid unintended pregnancies, which reduces the rate of abortion. Access to affordable contraception benefits women in ways that CPCs never can.”

The Kasich administration has continued to prioritize ideological organizations like CPCs and anti-women policies including abortion bans. NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio encourages the administration and legislature to explore preventive policies offering real care and comprehensive sex education.


Help build a pro-choice Ohio. Every day, NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio fights to protect access to the full range of reproductive health care options—including preventing unintended pregnancy, bearing healthy children, and safe & legal abortion care. We educate the public about the real threat to women’s healthcare posed by anti-choice legislation and policies. We mobilize pro-choice Ohioans to take political action to defend reproductive rights. And we are the voice for Ohio’s abortion clinics, helping them navigate the increasingly hostile climate created by extremist groups. But we need your help. As a member organization, we rely on your financial support to fund our important legislative, educational, and grassroots activities.

Contribute to NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio

Blog Post

Kasich: Two-faced on infant mortality

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Ohio Governor John Kasich was talking about infant mortality early on. He mentioned it in his first three State of the State speeches. Talk is cheap, but apparently he feels taking action is too expensive.

ACLU Ohio breaks it down in an op-ed in the Cincinnati Enquirer:

Whether bowing to political pressures or presidential aspirations, Kasich’s state budget proposal for 2015-2016 rolls back Medicaid coverage. Ohio House Bill 64 would decrease the amount of money a family can make and still enroll in Medicaid. For example, income for a family of three would now be capped at $27,724 a year. Pregnant women, one of the groups who stand to benefit most by having access to regular medical care, are put at serious risk by this plan.

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists cites the lack of prenatal care as a primary risk factor for having a premature delivery. Children who are born preterm frequently suffer from birth defects and lifelong health problems. The majority of babies who die before their first birthday are born prematurely.

NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio has been sounding the alarm since February. In our release:

NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio Executive Director Kellie Copeland said: “John Kasich keeps repeating he wants to reduce infant mortality, but his budget proposal will leave many low-income women without any health coverage at all. Babies born to mothers who received no prenatal care are three times more likely to be born at low birth weight and five times more likely to die than those whose mothers received prenatal care.”

In multiple budget committee hearings, State Rep. Nicki Antonio (D-Lakewood), Rep. Emilia Sykes (D-Akron), and Rep. Kathleen Clyde (D-Kent) all demanded answers. On the House floor before the budget was voted on, Rep. Sykes spoke passionately:

Will members of the Ohio Senate do what the House refused to? Will Kasich lift a finger to change a part of the budget that his office wrote?


Help build a pro-choice Ohio. Every day, NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio fights to protect access to the full range of reproductive health care options—including preventing unintended pregnancy, bearing healthy children, and legal abortion care. We educate the public about the real threat to women’s healthcare posed by anti-choice legislation and policies. We mobilize pro-choice Ohioans to take political action to defend reproductive rights. And we are the voice for Ohio’s abortion clinics, helping them navigate the increasingly hostile climate created by extremist groups. But we need your help. As a member organization, we rely on your financial support to fund our important legislative, educational, and grassroots activities.

Contribute to NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio