Ohio Democrat: GOP’s new abortion laws would never have survived public debate

By David Ferguson
Tuesday, July 2, 2013 10:11 EDT
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State Rep. Connie Pillich via screencap
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On the first “Rachel Maddow Show” of the week, host Rachel Maddow slammed Ohio Republicans for passing one of the country’s most restrictive and oppressive abortion law packages in the country, and did it by sneaking the measures into their new budget bill. Gov. John Kasich (R) signed the budget bill on Sunday, which contained several measures that were never opened to debate in the state house or anywhere else.

Maddow began by talking about the thousands of protesters who descended on the Texas state capitol on Monday, standing against Texas Republicans’ own omnibus anti-choice law, which would shut down all but five of the state’s 42 abortion clinics and place numerous other restrictions on birth control and abortions.

She called the rally a “massive Texas party in the heat,” featuring musicians like Natalie Maines of the Dixie Chicks and protesters and activists from across the state.

With Washington locked down in seemingly permanent gridlock, said Maddow, a lot of the political action is taking place at the state level.

“If you live in a blue state like Colorado or Rhode Island,” she said, “that means right now you’re getting gun reform laws and marriage equality laws and all sorts of stuff like that. If you are in a red state, you are getting new restrictions on abortion.”

Take for example Ohio, and the draconian set of restrictions, including mandatory ultrasounds, being imposed on women who need abortions, as well as a whole set of genuinely astonishing laws about rape. The Republicans in the state legislature sneaked the measures into their budget bill at the last minute, allowing no debate. The budget bill passed along party lines and Gov. John Kasich signed it into law on Sunday.

In one item on the budget, rape crisis clinics have been ordered not to speak to patients about abortions.

“So if you’re counseling a rape victim,” Maddow said, “you will have public funding yanked from your rape crisis center if you let the rape victim know that she can have an abortion if the rape made her pregnant.”

In another budget item, the Republicans stripped Planned Parenthood of funding, depriving thousands of low-income women of their only source of reproductive health care.

She welcomed Ohio state Rep. Connie Pillich to the program, who said of her state’s Republican legislators, “Well, if they had gone through the normal committee process, they of course would have been subject to the outrage of women across Ohio as we saw happen last year when women flooded the state house to protest these egregious measures.”

She continued, “But to put something as extreme and outrageous as eliminating birth control and cervical cancer screenings, I don’t see how that could have survived public scrutiny in any kind of open process. So they had to slip it in and basically they used the budget as a dumping ground for all these assaults on women’s health.”

Watch the video, embedded below via MSNBC:

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David Ferguson
David Ferguson
David Ferguson is an editor at Raw Story. He was previously writer and radio producer in Athens, Georgia, hosting two shows for Georgia Public Broadcasting and blogging at Firedoglake.com and elsewhere. He is currently working on a book.
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