Budget Bill Contains Changes to Abortion Access And Sex Education In Ohio
In recent years, when big budget bills have passed, controversial changes in laws over abortion have been attached. And it's happening in this budget as well.
The Executive Director of NARAL Pro Choice Ohio, Kellie Copeland, has a harsh description for state lawmakers behind a recent addition to the state budget.
"Let me start by saying, they are snakes," Copeland says.
Copeland says Republican lawmakers have attached language to make it harder for doctors who work with abortion clinics that require variances from the Ohio Department of Health. Variances are often needed for transfer agreements between clinics and local hospitals for example. This legislation would prevent doctors who work with those clinics that receive variances from practicing medicine in hospitals that get state dollars. Copeland says lawmakers could debate the issue as a stand alone bill where Ohioans could testify for or against it but are trying to get around that.
"They do not want to have an honest debate or conversation with the public. What they are hellbent on doing is preventing Ohioans from accessing abortion care by any means necessary," Copeland says.
There is money allocated for clinics that steer pregnant women away from the option of abortion. And there is also money included in the budget to pay for abstinence only sex education. There are also changes in the way parents are notified about sex education in their children's schools. Ohio currently does not have a statewide standard curriculum for sex education in the state's K-12 schools but Ohio law mandates abstinence be taught as the preferred education policy.