Kasich: What are we going to do tonight?
Senate GOP: The same thing we do every night. Try to ban abortion in Ohio.
A provision has been added to the Senate budget bill that intends to close most of Ohio’s abortion clinics. It would ban public hospitals from entering transfer agreements and allow the director of the Ohio Department of Health to reject the new agreements with private hospitals.
I wonder why they can’t find time to learn about Medicaid?
Ambulatory surgery centers (ASCs) are required by Ohio law to have agreements with hospitals to transfer patients who need more intensive care. These agreements are redundant, since federal law requires hospitals to treat every patient.
Abortion is the most common outpatient surgery, and one of the safest. Ohio Right to Life has been trying for years to find these agreements and pressure hospitals to reject them, with very limited success.
It’s safe to say that this provision is the fruit of John Kasich’s appointment of ORTL president Mike Gonidakis to the state medical board. From that position, he’ll be able to stay abreast of transfer agreements and use the power of ODH to threaten the hospitals.
This is what he’s done in Toledo, where the University of Toledo president has made it clear that Republican donors are more important than public health. To date, the other two hospital systems in Toledo agree: politics is more important than health care.
This may not be the case in Kasich’s and Gonidakis’ alternate reality, but most people don’t want political statements from their doctor. Forcing hospitals to “pick a side” will severely damage their brand, just as it did with Komen.
Good Samaritan Hospital doesn’t want customers asking “if I have a miscarriage, will you let me die?” But Good Samaritan was the title sponsor for Cincinnati Right to Life’s 2012 gala, and they won’t terminate a miscarriage until they’re sure there’s no fetal heartbeat.
If Kasich is going to force hospitals to become political actors, get your letter-writing fingers ready. Our side’s a lot closer to reproductive age than their side.
Says Kellie Copeland, executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio:
Though abortion remains technically legal in Ohio, this budget would effectively outlaw the procedure in some communities. If safe, legal clinics can no longer provide abortion care in Ohio, where will women turn? Governor Kasich can stop this attack on women’s health care. We need him to pledge to line-item veto these dangerous measures when they reach his desk.
To get involved, people can write their state senator and Governor Kasich at https://secure.prochoiceamerica.org/site/Advocacy?cmd=display&page=UserAction&id=5621. People can also call Governor Kasich at (614) 466-3555 and they can tweet him @JohnKasich. They can tweet the Senate GOP @OhioSenateGOP as well.