Ohio medical professionals are allowed to refuse abortion if it violates their religious beliefs.
The measure passed to the Spending bill, is celebrated by anti-abortion rights groups who say it would allow doctors to adhere to their moral standards.
“For us, it’s a First Amendment problem that was a few years ago,” said John Fortney, Republican spokesman for the Ohio Senate. âIt is worrying that we are seeing large government bureaucrats trying to force health organizations and doctors to offer services that they (do not want to) offer for religious reasons.
However, proponents of abortion rights say it would affect women’s access to health care facilities.
“The Ohio Senate Republicans have again hijacked the budget process to advance their anti-abortion agenda,” wrote Kellie Copeland, executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio, on her website. âAcross the country, medical providers work hand in hand with abortion clinics, medical schools and hospitals to ensure that patients get access to (the) comprehensive reproductive health care they deserve. This change is about stigmatizing and isolating abortion providers. “
The Republican-led Senate passed its version of the budget last week by 25 votes to 8, falling along the party lines. The House of Representatives had previously passed its version of the budget that does not include the abortion measure.
The members of both chambers are expected to meet in the conference committee next week to work out the final budget.
This spending proposal goes to Governor Mike DeWine, who has to sign it by June 30th.
Ohio is one of several states whose lawmakers are pushing for action to restrict access to abortion or to ban it altogether.
More than 500 abortion restriction policies were put in place in the United States in the first three months of this year, compared to about 300 in the same period in 2019. Planned Parenthood Report.
If the Ohio Senate version of the budget is adopted, a “doctor, health facility, or payer” could refuse to provide or pay a service in accordance with their “conscience according to moral, ethical, or religious beliefs or principles.” Language added to the invoice.
“It’s a breath of fresh air to know that Ohio passed legislation to protect people’s religious beliefs,” said Michael Gonidakis, president of Ohio Right to Life. “If you have deeply religious beliefs and believe abortion is murder and you happen to be a doctor in Ohio, you don’t have to go through this.”
Ohio has more than 44,000 licensed doctors, all with different ideas and beliefs, he added.
Kersha Deibel, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood Southwest Ohio Region, said her organization will always be open to those who need it.
“Reproductive health care is fairest when all providers can work together to ensure the health and safety of the patients we care for,” she said in a statement. “A change that threatens the highest quality of care and creates barriers to comprehensive sex education is not in the interests of Ohioans.”
Opponents of the change argue that Republican lawmakers are tacitly pushing pending laws into the budget spending plan. Supporters say it is normal for non-budgetary items to be included in the budget.
“It is very common for policy changes to be made in the operating budget, and some of these are caused by the need to update antiquated language,” said Fortney.
Hundreds of changes could be proposed for the budget, he added.
Ohio has some of the strictest abortion laws in the country.
An Ohio law that went into effect in April requires women who have an abortion to choose between cremating or burying the remains of the fetus.
Abortion providers who violate this law would be subject to first degree criminal charges, punishable by no more than six months in prison, a fine of $ 1,000, or both.