While Texas Gov. Rick Perry battles grid-locking filibusters and raucous mobs, Ohio Gov. John Kasich is presiding over the “most pro-life budget in history.” He signed it Sunday with the bold goal of defunding Planned Parenthood in the Buckeye State.
In 2012, the Ohio legislature passed a bill banning abortion after the fifth month of pregnancy and ensuring taxpayers’ dollars won’t pay for abortion coverage in Obamacare. Then lawmakers discovered that the University of Toledo’s public hospital was continuing to perform abortions with referrals from Planned Parenthood. Legislatures passed the 2013 bill (HB59) to stop that. The hospital performed 1,033 abortions last year.
The 2013 budget will effectively remove $1.4 million from Planned Parenthood and redirect it to community health centers. Mike Gonidakis, President of Ohio Right to Life, told me the money will fund family planning services at centers women actually use.
Kellie Copeland, executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio, told The Washington Post, “We want clinics to be safe. But our fear is that this red tape, and really that’s all it is, will be used as an excuse to close clinics.” One of Toledo’s two clinics closed earlier this year.
The bill requires all abortion facilities to offer ultrasounds to each mother so she can hear her child’s heartbeat before she makes a final decision. Facilities must also inform mothers about alternatives to abortion. The bill will ban public hospitals from entering into transfer agreements with abortion clinics. Abortionists must now direct patients to private hospitals. Lastly, the budget supports a program expected to provide 5 million dollars in grants to more than 125 crisis pregnancy centers in Ohio. The grants stipulate that none of the entities can refer women to an abortion facility—to get the money, the center must be “abortion free.”
Jordan Goldberg with the Center for Reproductive Rights told The Washington Post, “There are some serious legal problems with that provision. The state is literally trying to tie a knot that you can’t get out of.”
But Gonidakis said pro-abortionists should not be surprised: “The people elected a pro-life governor, senate, and house—the people of Ohio spoke.” In the past, Ohio has been a testing ground for legislation that protects unborn children. Gonidakis says that the pro-life successes in Ohio have come through an incremental approach, one step at a time. He says Ohio’s pro-life legislature doesn’t want to reach too far too fast, and what works in Ohio will work elsewhere. He notes a 2013 Gallup poll reporting that 58 percent of Americans (including 57 percent of women) want all abortions or almost all abortions illegal.
“Abortion is a stain on the fabric of our nation,” Gonidakis said, “Our country can be healed. … In God’s timing, it will happen if we remain faithful.”