Tell Kasich To Veto Abortion Restrictions In The Budget

Yesterday, we joined nearly 100 pro-choice activists at the Ohio Statehouse to demand that our lawmakers remove two anti-abortion restrictions from the state’s proposed budget.

Women from every corner of the state traveled to Columbus to raise the alarm after Ohio House and Senate leaders quietly re-inserted the “30-mile” transfer agreement provision into the budget in an 11th hour attempt to close Toledo’s last abortion clinic.

While it was inspiring to be in the presence of so many progressive women, it was heartbreaking to witness our protests being ignored by the Republican majority in the House and Senate.

As explained in an editorial by the The Cleveland Plain Dealer, lawmakers officially passed the state budget with the following anti-abortion provisions still in-tact:

The anti-Toledo rule mandates that abortion clinics conclude a state-mandated emergency patient transfer agreement with a hospital that is no more than 30 miles away. The Toledo clinic had solved the conundrum of not being able to find a willing Ohio hospital by concluding a transfer deal with a Michigan hospital 50 miles away.

The other rule — one that likely will close a Dayton clinic that’s been waiting two years for a state variance allowing it to operate without a transfer agreement — requires a clinic to get such a variance within two months. Such a deadline would let squeamish state bureaucrats simply sit on their hands and let the clock run out.

These draconian rules aimed at closing Ohio’s abortion clinics appear to be a thinly veiled effort to get before the U.S. Supreme Court a challenge to Roe v. Wade, the case that legalized abortion.
— The Cleveland Plain Dealer, Editorial Board, 6/26/15, "Ohio budget bill is no place for abortion restrictions: editorial"

By allowing these anti-abortion restrictions to remain in the budget, Ohio’s lawmakers are blatantly disregarding the ruling of Lucas County Judge Myron Duhart, which stated that adding abortion licensing provisions to a state budget bill violates the Ohio Constitution’s "single subject" rule.

Referring to previous anti-abortion provisions that were added in a similar manner to the state’s budget bill in 2013, Judge Duhart’s ruling states:

Capital Care argues… the current licensing scheme is unconstitutional because it was improperly enacted as part of a huge appropriations bill, ‘HB 59’ and, thus, the ASF licensing scheme contained in HB 59 runs afoul of the so-called ‘single-subject’ rule embodied in the Ohio Constitution.

...The court concludes that the Current Scheme for licensing abortion-center ASFs, at issue here, violates the single-subject rule.
— Hon. Myron Duhart, Lucas County Court of Common Pleas, Capital Care Network v. Ohio Department of Health, Opinion & Judgement 6/19/15

By adding these anti-abortion restrictions to the state’s new budget, Ohio’s legislators are purposefully ignoring the court’s opinion and the Constitution’s single-subject rule.

We join our friends at NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio in urging all Ohioans to contact Governor Kasich and make it clear to him that these unconstitutional legislative tactics are outrageous and will not be tolerated by his constituents. 

Ohio women will not stand for 11th hour, backdoor maneuvers that end access to abortion. We demand that Gov. Kasich veto these measures.

A compassionate leader does not sign away women’s rights before jetting off to campaign stops in Iowa or New Hampshire. John Kasich cannot simply excuse his own actions by saying ‘I’m just signing what they gave me.’ He will be responsible when women die through unsafe, illegal abortions.
— Kellie Copeland, Executive Director of NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio, 6/25/15

At this point, the only way to remove the two anti-abortion restrictions from the budget is if John Kasich line item vetoes them.

Please call Governor Kasich's office at (614) 466-3555 and urge him to line item veto the abortion restrictions.

Editor's Note: One of our readers asked what she should say when she calls Kasich. Here's what I suggest:

"The provisions regarding transfer agreements and variances for abortion clinics have no place in the state's fiscal budget bill. Not only will these abortion restrictions hurt Ohio's women, their presence within the budget violates the Ohio Constitution's single subject rule. I respectfully ask that you please line item veto these provisions from the budget."

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