Action Alert:Threats to Women's Health Do Not Belong in State Budget

The League of Women Voters has long supported quality health care as well as the constitutional right of privacy of the individual to make reproductive choices. The provisions, detailed below, that were included in the state budget bill (HB 59) are detrimental to both goals.

The biennial state budget bill (HB 59) now heading to a conference committee contains several provisions that if allowed to stay in the budget, are harmful to women's health and severely limit their constitutional right to make reproductive choices. These are:

The reprioritization of family planning funds that places Planned Parenthood and other community family planning organizations at the end of the line for federal funding, effectively defunding them. These funds are currently competitively distributed by the Ohio Department of Health, and Planned Parenthood and other family planning programs consistently score high because they provide valuable health services, including cancer screenings, contraception and preventive health care. None of these funds are or can be used for abortions.

Allowing the redirection of TANF funds to "Crisis Pregnancy Centers," which have been shown to provide erroneous and misleading information to women facing unintended pregnancies. TANF dollars are already stretched to meet the growing need for their intended use, financial support for needy families.

Restrictions on transfer agreement requirements for ambulatory surgical facilities that could force the closure of abortion clinics. A new Senate provision would prohibit public hospitals from participating in transfer agreements with abortion providers. These are medically unnecessary regulations that limit access to abortion care, and could force women into unsafe and dangerous situations.

Please take action today!

1. Contact members of the Budget Conference Committee and urge them to remove these provisions from the budget - and to keep any other restrictions on women's health choices out of the state budget.

These legislators are on the Budget Conference Committee:

Rep. Ron Amstutz, 614-466-1474, rep01@ohiohouse.gov

Rep. Jeff McClain, 614-644-6265, district 87@ohiohouse.gov

Rep. Vernon Sykes, 614-466-3100, district34@ohiohouse.gov

Sen. Scott Oelslager, 614-466-0626, oelslager@ohiosenate.gov

Sen. Bill Coley, 614-466-8072, coley@ohiosenate.gov

Sen. Tom Sawyer, 614-466-7041, sawyer@ohiosenate.gov

2. Contact Governor Kasich. Urge him to veto any provisions in the budget that restrict women's health choices, including those listed above.

Governor John Kasich, 614-466-3555, www.governor.ohio.gov for an email contact form.

HELP LWVO TRACK YOUR ADVOCACY EFFORTS

We want to know how responsive members are to action alerts and how many calls are made to the Ohio House and Ohio Senate. If you take the action suggested, please let the state office know. Drop us an e-mail at leg@lwvohio.org.

The League of Women Voters of Ohio, a nonpartisan political organization, encourages informed and active participation in government, works to increase understanding of major public policy issues, and influences public policy through education and advocacy.