feared would be struck down as unconstitutional and set back the gains made in
The organization has had other high-profile legislative successes over the last few years.
They included passage of a law last session that prohibits a late-term abortion once a doctor determines an unborn child would be viable outside the womb. It contains an exception if the mother's health or life is in danger.
But Mike Gonidakis, the organization's president, does consider this budget to be historic.
"When you take everything in total, it's absolutely historic," he said. "The governor had found a way to get additional money to poor pregnant women and to get more medically accurate information to women -- the heartbeat, at her discretion. These are common-sense provisions that will withstand court scrutiny. None is an overreach.
"Elections have consequences," Mr. Gonidakis said. "We had not had this much success in a budget to this date."
Planned Parenthood of Northeast Ohio recently learned that it had just been awarded $562,000 in family planning funds from the Department of Health under the competitive grant process that expired with the fiscal year on June 30. Now it's waiting to learn whether the money will be withdrawn since the rules have changed.
"[Ohio Right to Life has] legislators, mostly males, who seem to think this looks like good health care," said Stephanie Kight, president of Planned Parenthood of Ohio.
"I don't know their motives, but they're interested in eliminating abortion access completely. Districts have been gerrymandered so that elected officials don't represent Ohioans and what's in the best interests of Ohio."
Ms. Kight said legal challenges are likely.
"That's certainly happening," she said. "There is also a heck of a lot of talking going on among women so that they'll all know what happened to them on [June 30] so that they can make a change in a year and a half."
That's when Mr. Kasich, all statewide executive officeholders, and most state lawmakers will be on the ballot.
"We will work night and day to protect officeholders who courageously stand up on pro-life issues," Mr. Gonidakis said. "We want this issue to be front and center ... Ohio is a pro-life state. We'll take it to the ballot. If [Ohio Democratic Party Chairman] Chris Redfern wants to make it front and center, let's do it."
The filibuster that Ms. Davis mounted in Texas at least temporarily blocked that state's attempt to require all 42 of its abortion clinics to upgrade to ambulatory surgical centers, something that was already required in Ohio under Department of Health rules.
The Ohio budget that Mr. Kasich signed, however, takes that rule and cements it in law. It gives the department authority to shut down a clinic that fails to meet the requirement while simultaneously limiting the clinic's options to qualify under it. Clinics could still seek transfer agreements with private hospitals.
The rule was used last month to shut down Center for Choice in Toledo after negotiations with the University of Toledo Medical Center, the former Medical College of Ohio, broke off, and neither of Toledo's other two hospitals offered to sign an agreement.
Rep. Lynn Wachtmann (R., Napoleon), sponsor of a bill that would prohibit abortion as soon as a fetal heartbeat is detectable, agrees that the sheer number of abortion-related amendments in this budget may be unusual.
"But I would say that there have been many budgets that have had something considered pro-life in them," he said.
He dismissed the suggestion that the sudden influx of anti-abortion budget amendments in Ohio is the result of outside influences that have driven similar efforts in other states at the same time.
Instead, he said the new budget, in some cases, represented a convergence of abortion-related bills that had been around for a while and on which the Republican-controlled General Assembly was finally ready to move.
"The restructuring of the federal dollars when it comes to Planned Parenthood had been worked on for a couple of years," he said. "It just came to a resolution now. The issue of public hospitals and transfer agreements is a relatively new occurrence that started with the issue I raised in Toledo."
He voted for the budget, even though he would have preferred his much stricter Heartbeat Bill, the bill Ohio Right to Life has worked to block.
"I would have liked to have the entirety of the bill, but this is all we could get through the Senate," Mr. Wachtmann said.
"It's unfortunate that pro-life senators couldn't get more. I look at these issues in the budget as good stuff to save babies."
Contact Jim Provance at: email@example.com or 614-221-0496.
(c)2013 The Blade (Toledo, Ohio)
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