Yesterday, the Ohio Legislature passed a biennial operating budget which maintained several key pro-life provisions, including funding for pregnancy centers that provide help for pregnant women and save babies from abortion.

The Senate voted 32-1 to accept the report of the Committee of Conference on Substitute House Bill 110, the budget bill for the 134th General Assembly, with the House later accepting the report on a vote of 82-13.

Lawmakers included $6 million for the Ohio Parenting and Pregnancy Program which provides funding for pregnancy centers. The budget also includes pro-life provisions which protect parents’ conscience rights and strengthen requirements for abortion centers to provide emergency medical care for women injured by botched abortions. The require that abortion businesses have an agreement with a local physician to ensure women are treated quickly.

Governor DeWine is expected to sign the bill before July 1st, when the state’s new fiscal year begins.

Mike Gonidakis, president of Ohio Right to Life, told LifeNews.com that he’s pleased with the pro-life provisions and funding for pregnancy centers.

“These pro-life provisions in our budget protect women, religious freedom and our school aged children. It’s rather sad that these groups oppose such policies. Left unchecked, the radical pro-abortion industry would have an abortion clinic on every street corner and indoctrinate our children to engage in unsafe and unhealthy practices,” he said.

“Thankfully a vast majority of Ohioans oppose abortion and support pro-life policies. Elections have consequences and we elected a pro-life super majority in the legislature. We applaud their work and expect Governor DeWine to do the same,” he added.

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“It is a very important addition to Ohio law to make sure that we are doing everything we can to protect the health of women who are injured by abortion” noted Meg DeBlase, Executive Director of Right to Life of Greater Cincinnati. “We are pleased with the work our elected officials have done to make sure that women are going to be cared for by local hospitals and local doctors when an adverse outcome happens for them at an abortion facility.”

Another key policy addition is language that will protect the rights of conscience of medical providers, facilities and payers to be able to decline to participate in procedures that violate moral, ethical or religious beliefs of conscience.

“We have numerous stories of medical professionals, especially nurses, who have been required to participate in certain medical procedures that trouble their conscience or go against the teachings of their faith,” DeBlase added. “We believe that this is a fair accommodation, as it allows the provider to decline to participate in such procedures, but also notes that the patient will be notified and provided the opportunity to have another provider perform the service.”

Furthermore, funds are being directed to help support local programming directed to maternal health and support for pregnant mothers, funding to strengthen character-based sexual risk avoidance education programs in our schools, and to expand the successful Parenting and Pregnancy Program in Ohio.

“This is a very good budget, and we applaud our local and state officials for bringing this together,” continued DeBlase. “We look forward to Governor DeWine’s signature on these important provisions.”

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