Texas Sen. Wendy Davis (D., Forth Worth) made national news
when she recently filibustered on that state's Senate floor for 11 hours until
the clock ran out on passage of a sweeping anti-abortion bill.
Hours later, Democratic women stood on the floors of the Ohio House and Senate to make many of the same arguments that Ms. Davis made, but a budget bill similar to what was blocked in Austin made it to Ohio Gov. John Kasich's desk and was signed into the law.
"This isn't about one bill or about one state," one of those Ohio women, state Sen. Nina Turner (D., Cleveland), said. "It is about the unrelenting obsession with regulating a woman's womb. Over 700 bills in 42 states in just the last few months have been introduced to regulate a woman's constitutionally guaranteed right to choose.
"Texas lit a fuse," she said.
Several provisions that critics argue restrict access to abortion in Ohio made it into the state budget. One was added in conference committee at the last possible moment that any changes could be made to the $62 billion, two-year spending plan.
With Republicans controlling both chambers of the Ohio General Assembly, abortion-rights advocates placed their last-ditch hopes on a Kasich veto. The Republican governor had taken on members of his own party before by promoting expansion of Medicaid eligibility under President Obama's new health-care law and by refusing to endorse efforts to make Ohio a right-to-work state.
But Mr. Kasich sent signals that lightning probably wasn't going to strike a third time. "Just keep in mind that I'm pro-life," he said. He exercised his line-item veto pen 22 times last week but left all of the abortion provisions intact.
-- A prohibition against public hospitals or the physicians affiliated with them entering into written agreements with ambulatory surgical centers that perform abortions to accept their patients in case of emergency. The clinics must have such agreements in place as a condition of their licenses.
-- A requirement that doctors test for a fetal heartbeat, then inform the patient seeking an abortion in writing of the presence of that heartbeat, and then provide statistical likelihood that the fetus could be carried to term. The doctor's failure to do so would be a first-degree misdemeanor, carrying up to six months in jail, for the first violation and a fourth-degree felony, carrying up o 18 months in jail, for subsequent violations.
-- A new priority list when it comes to distributing Ohio's share of federal planning funds that puts Planned Parenthood last in line behind state and local agencies, nonpublic federally qualified heath centers and community action agencies, and nonpublic entities that also provide comprehensive primary and preventive health care.
-- A threat to the public funding for rape crisis centers that discuss abortion as an option in their counseling of clients. The provision, which also includes an additional funding stream for the centers, also had been previously supported by House Democrats when it was included in a broader bill last month.
Ohio Right to Life has proven successful in getting much of its agenda through the Republican-controlled General Assembly, even when it came to blocking a much stricter Heartbeat Bill pushed by a splinter group that Ohio Right to Life
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