Ohio House Blocks Some Tax Funds to Abortionists, and Adopts Partial Abortion Defunding Bill

Tuesday [17 Nov 15], the Ohio House of Representatives passed Substitute House Bill 294 to block abortion providers in Ohio from qualifying for five funding programs administered by the Ohio Department of Health. The chamber adopted the measure 62-30 after lengthy debate. The bipartisan bill, sponsored by Representatives Margaret Conditt (Butler County) and Bill Patmon (Cleveland), now moves to the Ohio Senate, which adopted their own version of the same language (SB 214) in October. Pro-life leaders from around the state of Ohio attended the Ohio House session during debate, including leaders from Ohio Prolife Action, Right to Life of Greater Cincinnati, Cleveland Right to Life, and Citizens for Community Values. While generally supportive of the House action, these leaders noted three missing pieces of concern. “The legislation still doesn’t completely block Ohio tax dollars, whether state or federal in the form of Medicaid reimbursements, from increasing the coffers of organizations profiting from the killing of defenseless unborn children,” stated Molly Smith, President of Cleveland Right to Life. “Today they still did not address rescinding Medicaid contracts from these entities now under state and federal investigation.” Abortion providers qualify for Medicaid reimbursements under certain conditions, as defined by state and federal code. The House bill only prohibits funding of certain programs granted to abortionists who perform “non-therapeutic” abortions, which means that babies conceived in rape or incest remain at risk for misnamed “therapeutic” abortions currently covered under Medicaid in Ohio. “It is always a plus when public policy moves in the direction of protecting innocent preborn children and their mothers,” noted Paula Westwood, Executive Director of Right to Life...