The Ohio Senate Thursday approved its verion of the 6.7 billion dollar two year state budget bill. The bill was passed along party lines.
Ohio Public Radio’s Jo Ingles reports.
The budget includes tax breaks for small businesses and more money targeted for k-12 education and vouchers. Democrats tried to add amendments to require more accountability in those areas but those were tabled. But it’s what Democrats wanted to remove from the budget that brought about the most spirited debate. Democratic State Senator Charleta Tavares wanted to take away parts of the budget that would reprioritize money for family planning services so that Planned Parenthood would lose most of its federal dollars for that purpose. And the Senator’s amendment would cut out a provision that bans public hospitals and doctors who work in them from providing services to abortion clinics. Tavares said the provisions in the budget force Ohio women to go to back alleys if they want or need safe legal abortions.
Tavares – You are destroying health care for women and as a woman, I am offended. I’m offended that it’s so political, it is so ideological to some that you would destroy these facilities that are providing services, much needed services, in our state.
Democratic State Senator Nina Turner said she fears there is no backup plan to help women who can’t get the birth control services they need if these changes are put into law.
Turner – Do we have the data attesting to the fact that all county health departments have an ability or the willingness to pick up the so called slack when this funding is revoked?
Turner used sarcasm when she told lawmakers they were operating in an environment of Father knows best and Turner added the legislature is not giving Ohio women the opportunity to make their own reproductive choices.
Turner – The language in the budget as it stands right now is anti women, anti family, anti choice, anti poor and absolutely unequivocally immoral.
Lehner – I too am concerned with morality. I find the loss of 50 million unborn children something that we should all be concerned about.
That was Republican Senator Peggy Lehner who spoke out against the Democrat’s amendment to remove the provisions from the budget. She rejected the notion that the Republicans who backed these changes were engaging in a war against women.
Lehner – We are not talking about a war on women. We are not talking about denying women contraception. We are talking about an organization that has been responsible for more of those abortions than any other single entity in the history of the abortion movement.
Lehner said these amendments that would make it tougher for abortion clinics to operate and take money away from Planned Parenthood were necessary. She said it’s not about making it harder for women to get contraceptive services.
Lehner – If Planned Parenthood chose today to give up being the nation’s leading abortion provider, this amendment would be yanked out of here faster than a fetal heartbeat because this amendment is not about denying access to family planning services. This amendment is about the state of Ohio standing up and saying we are not going to spend our limited resources on an organization that advocates the destruction of human life.
The budget, which passed on a party line vote, now goes to the Ohio house with these two controversial provisions attached.