By Marc Kovac
Representatives of Planned Parenthood and like-minded lawmakers are urging Gov. John Kasich to use his gubernatorial power to strike abortion-related provisions from the $62 billion biennial budget.
More than 100 people held protest signs and chanted “line-item veto” Thursday morning outside the Statehouse, hours before the Ohio House and Senate gave their final approval for the two-year spending plan.
“Thank God we have warrior women all over the country standing up for the cause,” said Sen. Nina Turner, D-Cleveland. She added, “This isn’t about one bill or one state. It’s about the unrelenting obsession with regulating a woman’s womb.”
Among other budget amendments, Republicans added language requiring doctors to check for a fetal heartbeat before performing an abortion, blocking public hospitals from contracting with facilities that perform nontherapeutic abortions, and re-prioritizing funding, essentially blocking allocations for Planned Parenthood.
Democrats spoke out about the provisions during the Statehouse rally and as part of the hours of floor debate on the budget.
“We are all better off when women and their doctors, not politicians, are the ones making medical decisions,” Turner said.
Anti-abortion groups also were on hand. During the rally, several stood silently holding bloody pictures of aborted fetuses.
Mark Harrington, executive director of Created Equal, said he and others support the budget’s abortion-related amendments.
“Lives are at stake,” he said. “These legislators have taken an oath to protect unborn children and do what’s right for them.”
The governor has to sign the biennial budget legislation before Monday, the start of the new fiscal year. Kasich likely will use his line-item veto authority to strike provisions he opposes.