by Steven Ertelt
November 14, 2005
Columbus, OH (LifeNews.com) — A bill in the Ohio state legislature would prohibit the use of state funds from paying for abortions through health care plans issued to employees for state and local government. Pro-life groups plan to support the proposal.
Under House Bill 239, employees who work for public colleges and universities in the state would also be affected. Currently, such employees are entitled to having their abortions covered under the insurance plan if they complete a pre-certification process, according to Greg Fialko, director of benefits and compensation at Ohio University.
Representative Michelle Schneider, a Cincinnati Republican, introduced the bill back in May with more than 50 co-sponsors and there have been five hearings on the bill but no vote yet.
Gary Dougherty, executive director of Planned Parenthood Affiliates of Ohio, told the Post, the OU student newspaper, that his group will oppose the bill because it limits access to abortions.
Beth Wechter, youth outreach coordinator of Ohio Right To Life, says her group supports the measure because it doesn’t want taxpayer funds used to pay for abortions — which she says have been shown to hurt women.
"Women need to understand abortion isn’t an acceptable solution. There are other options for women in need," she told the Post.
Abortion advocates also blasted the bill because it would affect public-funding of abortions for women who have been raped. Wechter thinks they focus too much on abortion and not enough on helping women in such cases.
"Abortion is just another crime against that woman," Wechter said. "Women are angry at themselves because (of) the abortion, when they should be angry at the criminal who raped them."
Wechter added that there are 200 pregnancy centers across Ohio that provide pregnant women with practical help and alternatives to abortion.
There were 31,391 abortions performed in Ohio in 2004 and Ohio Right to Life hopes this bill and others will drive down those numbers.