by Steven Ertelt
December 8, 2006
Columbus, OH (LifeNews.com) — The Ohio House of Representatives approved a comprehensive measure on Thursday aimed at limiting abortion funding and counseling. The pro-life bill also expresses an official state policy that childbirth is preferred over abortion when it comes to a decision about an unplanned pregnancy.
The state House backed the measure on a 68-25 vote and it now heads to the state Senate for consideration.
Ohio Right to Life supported the measure, which contains various provisions restricting abortions.
"We are pleased that the majority of the Ohio House has adopted a common sense policy to prefer childbirth over abortion and to protect taxpayers from being forced to pay for abortions," ORTL legislative counsel Mark Lally told LifeNews.com.
"The mounting evidence that abortion harms women, as well as unborn children, indicates that public policies promoting abortion benefit no one, except the abortion industry," Lally added.
The bill would eliminate what the group calls an abortion funding "loophole."
Current Ohio law permits use of state or local taxpayer funds for abortions not only to preserve the life of the mother, but also her physical or mental health, which is open to broad interpretation and could result in the funding of all abortions.
While the most recent governors have not been using this exception, ORTL says pro-abortion Governor-elect Ted Strickland could use it to fund abortion on demand.
The bill would eliminate this loophole and set state law in line with federal law, which restricts abortion funding to cases when the mother’s life is in danger or the pregnancy results from rape or incest.
The measure also puts current budget restrictions on abortion and abortion counseling at state-funded agencies into law.
Current budget language prevents using state Genetic Services funding for abortion counseling and referral but ORTL worries Strickland could line-item veto this in a future budget.
Finally, the pro-life bill allows "private Attorney General" actions to require abortion businesses to comply with state licensing requirements.
Some abortion clinics have attempted to operate without the required Ambulatory Surgical Facility license and the measure would permit a private individual to bring an action to obtain an injunction requiring the facility to stop operating without a license.
The pro-life group worries the governor would not ask his health department to vigorously enforce the law.
Related web sites:
Ohio Right to Life – https://www.ohiolife.org