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Thu Jun 27, 2013, 06:05 PM

All eyes are on Texas, but OHIO is on the cusp of enacting radical restrictions on abortion rights


Ohio Lawmakers Are Using Their State Budget To Try To Restrict Abortion And Redefine Pregnancy

Ohio lawmakers are currently trying to pass a state budget, but many of the debates over the legislation have nothing to do with the state’s financial policies whatsoever. Abortion opponents have hijacked the budget negotiations to launch several attacks on women’s health, tacking on provisions that would defund Planned Parenthood, shut down abortion clinics, and redirect state funding to right-wing “crisis pregnancy centers.” And the budget only continues to get worse for Ohio women.

On Tuesday, anti-abortion Republicans in the state added yet another budget provision related to reproductive health. The new amendment would require doctors to look for a fetal heartbeat before performing an abortion, presumably with an unnecessary ultrasound procedure, and then “notify the woman about the presence of the heartbeat.” Abortion doctors would also be required to tell women about the fetus’ likelihood of “surviving to full term.”

As the policy group Innovation Ohio notes, this language is borrowed from the controversial “heartbeat” ban that Ohio Republicans tried to push through last year. That radical legislation would have criminalized abortion after a fetal heartbeat could first be detected — which typically occurs around six weeks, before many women even know they’re pregnant. Despite the fact that Republicans ultimately gave up on that measure at the end of last session, acknowledging it was too controversial to win support even among anti-choice groups, far-right abortion opponents vowed to keep trying.

They’ve found their chance with this budget amendment, which actually seeks to redefine the medical terms of pregnancy under Ohio law. The new provision defines a fetus as “human offspring developing during pregnancy from the moment of conception and includes the embryonic stage of development” and ultimately declares that pregnancy begins at fertilization. The commonly accepted scientific definition of pregnancy, however, is the point at which a fertilized egg becomes implanted in the uterine lining.

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Full article here: http://thinkprogress.org/health/2013/06/27/2221641/ohio-lawmakers-budget-abortion/

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