Ohio Governor Mike DeWine signed the 2021 state budget on June 30 that will allow two abortion facilities, both at risk of closing, to remain open… but it will also fund pro-life pregnancy centers and ensure conscience protections for pro-life medical professionals.
Ohio abortion facilities will remain open
Women’s Med Center in Kettering, said to be the only abortion facility in the Dayton area, will remain open after language in the state budget was altered. Previously, the abortion facility was only allowed to stay open in 2019 thanks to a variance granted by the Ohio Department of Health.
Despite a state law requiring the clinic to have a transfer agreement with a hospital, the abortion business hadn’t been able to secure an agreement with Kettering Health or Premier Health and lost its battle in court to challenge the law. But then, it found four physicians affiliated with Wright State University Boonshoft School of Medicine willing to be backup doctors, allowing the business to remain open.
The 2021 budget originally included a provision that would have barred doctors who teach at medical schools or work at state hospitals from signing such variances, thereby forcing Women’s Med Center to close. However, the restriction was removed from the budget before it was signed, leaving only a requirement that the doctors who did sign onto variances work within 25 miles of the facility. This allowed Women’s Med Center, as well as Planned Parenthood Southwest Ohio Region’s Mount Auburn Health Center, to remain open.
Despite this, Planned Parenthood Southwest Ohio Region President & CEO Kersha Deibel claimed the rule creates an unnecessary barrier to abortion.
Funding for pro-life pregnancy centers
The 2021 Ohio budget includes $6 million for the Ohio Parenting and Pregnancy Program which provides funding for pro-life pregnancy centers. The money will allow the program to expand, providing more support for maternal health and pregnant mothers. The funding will also help to improve character-based sexual risk avoidance education programs in school, which teaches teens to avoid pre-marital sex, drug use, and underage drinking, and educates them about self-regulation, goal setting, how to resist sexual coercion, and how to avoid dating violence.
Protection for pro-life doctors
The budget also includes the Medical Ethics and Diversity (MED) Act, which protects doctors and medical professionals from being forced to participate in procedures that violate their beliefs, including abortion. It also protects insurance companies, allowing them to create insurance plans for businesses and organizations that are in line with their beliefs.
“Medical professionals face unbelievable pressure today to abandon their faith and ethical beliefs and to perform procedures they believe are harmful and dangerous,” Center for Christian Virtue president Aaron Baer told LifeNews. “Make no mistake, the politically correct and woke culture that is bullying and silencing millions of Americans today is ingrained deeply into Ohio’s medical system.”
He continued, “Yet, today, these men and women should feel assured that help is here. Because the General Assembly included the MED Act in the budget, and Governor DeWine signed it, life-saving men and women of faith across the state can know they cannot be fired or punished for ethically treating their patients.”
Pro-abortion groups expressed anger over the budget, with Planned Parenthood Advocates of Ohio tweeting that it is an attempt to “attack your health care access & sex education.” However, DeWine said he agrees with the pro-life language of the budget and welcomes any protests against it.
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