Democratic lawmakers and abortion-rights supporters Wednesday slammed Gov. John Kasich over the newly signed two-year budget that includes provisions they say jeopardize women’s health.
State Democratic chairman Chris Redfern, who is a state representative from Catawba Island Township, stood with state Sen. Edna Brown (Toledo), state Rep. Michael Ashford (Toledo), Toledo Councilman Lindsay Webb, Toledo Clerk of Courts Vallie Bowman-English, and others outside Planned Parenthood on Jefferson Avenue downtown.
“Governor Kasich is abandoning women and moving to slash the services that women depend on,” Ms. Bowman-English said.
A new provision inserted in the budget requires a doctor performing abortions to first perform an ultrasound to detect a fetal heartbeat and then offer to let the woman seeking an abortion hear or see that heartbeat. Failure to following this procedure could lead to criminal prosecution of the doctor.
The budget also places Planned Parenthood at the end of the line when it comes to distributing Ohio’s share of federal family planning funds, and prohibits state-supported hospitals such as University of Toledo Medical Center from having an emergency transfer agreement with an abortion clinic.
Senator Brown said it was “appalling” that Governor Kasich did not veto “some of the ridiculous provisions put in the budget by people with some far, far-out visions of what a woman should do about her own health care.”
Ms. Webb said the council district she represents, which includes Point Place and parts of north and west Toledo, is largely working class that relies on the abortion and health-care services that were available before the budget passed. She commented on the newspaper photograph of Governor Kasich signing the budget surrounded by “aging men.”
“They don’t know what it’s like to be a college student and a struggling working woman,” Ms. Webb said. “There are women in Toledo who are going to have less health access. There are devastating, meaningful consequences in Toledo.”
Rob Nichols, a spokesman for Mr. Kasich, said, “the governor is pro-life and has been pro-life through his career. We believe these are reasonable provisions to save human life.” He said the governor’s opponents want to divert attention from a three-year, $2.7 billion tax cut in the budget that will “get our economy humming and Ohioans back to work.”
The two-year budget signed into law on Sunday has also attracted support locally.
Abortion opponents met on Tuesday at the former Center for Choice, an abortion clinic that closed in June, to celebrate what they described as “the most pro-life budget in Ohio’s history.”
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