COLUMBUS – The governor of Ohio signed pro-life legislation into law this week that includes provisions to discourage abortion procedures, while at the same time encouraging pro-life options.
John Kasich, the highly popular Republican governor of Ohio, signed the latest edition of the state’s 3,700-page budget Sunday night, which includes several pro-life provisions. The budget explicitly describes each child in the womb as an “unborn human individual,” and requires abortionists to meet with women considering abortion in order to discuss the nature of the procedure.
“At this meeting,” the law states, “the physician shall inform the pregnant woman … of all of the following:
(a) The nature and purpose of the particular abortion procedure to be used and the medical risks associated with that procedure;
(b) The probable gestational age of the embryo or fetus;
(c) The medical risks associated with the pregnant woman carrying the pregnancy to term.”
Additionally, the budget calls for the creation of a parenting and pregnancy program to—among other purposes—“[p]romote childbirth, parenting, and alternatives to abortion.”
Abortion advocates are decrying the new budget, saying Governor Kasich is severely infringing upon “women’s rights.” In a recent statement, Stephanie Kight of Planned Parenthood of Ohio lambasted the law, asserting that it is harmful to women.
“These provisions in the Ohio state budget are part of an orchestrated effort to roll back women’s rights and access to health care in Ohio,” she stated. “The budget is only the latest in a series of restrictive laws signed by John Kasich that have hurt the women in our state who need more access to health care, not less.”
On Twitter, Kight accused Governor Kasich of “joining the war against women’s health” by passing the “disgusting” budget.
Elisabeth Smith, spokeswoman for the Democratic Governors Association, provided a similar reprimand to the new law, according to CNN.
“Governor John Kasich, surrounded by a smiling group of Republican male legislators, just signed a bill in Ohio that will defund Planned Parenthood and force women seeking abortions to get medically unnecessary ultrasounds,” Smith wrote in an email. “These positions are controversial, unpopular, and well out of the mainstream in any state, let alone Ohio.”
Last week, dozens of abortion supporters—many of them wearing pink Planned Parenthood support T-shirts—flocked to the Ohio statehouse to voice opposition to the budget’s pro-life measures. Eventually, many of the protesters were escorted from the chamber after they began shouting, “Shame on you! Shame on you!”
However, Governor Kasich described the budget as economy-strengthening and job-creating, saying “Ohio is getting back on track, but we’ve got more work to do.”
“Ohio needs to continue to innovate and implement big ideas to further drive economic growth and make our state a better place to work, live and raise a family,” he commented. “I’m proud that this budget helps us achieve those goals.”
Ohio Right to Life released a statement soon after the bill’s passage, describing the legislation as “historic” and perhaps the “most pro-life in history.” In the statement, Mike Gonidakis, president of Ohio Right to Life, praised the state’s new budget.
“Ohio Right to Life applauds Governor Kasich and the vast pro-life majorities in the House and Senate,” he said. “Low-income pregnant women will now receive greater care and their unborn child will have a much greater opportunity to be born healthy. It took great compassion and courage for our governor and pro-life legislature to stand up to the abortion industry that blatantly pressured them.”
“For all their bluster about equality among the genders, [D]emocrats have a policy of inequality towards women,” Gonidakis continued. “If you’re a woman living outside the womb you’re respected and cherished but if you’re a woman living inside the womb not only do they threaten your life, they pretend you don’t exist. Ohioans are grateful there are leaders like Governor Kasich and Republicans in the legislature who care enough to respect all women.”
The passage of Ohio’s new budget occurred hours before lawmakers in Texas reconvened to pass legislation that would protect all unborn babies after 20 weeks gestation, as well as require abortion facilities to meet higher medical standards. Due to last week’s unprecedented filibuster and protests, Texas troopers—some with riot gear—were seen patrolling the Texas capitol on Monday, according to the Houston Chronicle. Lawmakers are hoping to have the legislation passed by sometime next week.