The Ohio Senate approved a pro-life amendment to their state budget Wednesday that would ensure abortion facilities have local doctors available to treat patients with emergency complications.
The Cincinnati Enquirer reports two of the nine abortion facilities in the state could be at risk of closing as a result of the legislation.
Introduced by state Sen. Steve Huffman, R-Darke, the amendment would require doctors listed as back-up physicians for abortion facilities to have hospital admitting privileges within 25 miles of the abortion facility. It also would require that the doctors be in active practice and would prohibit them from teaching at taxpayer-funded hospitals and medical schools.
Ohio law requires ambulatory surgical facilities, including surgical abortion facilities, to have transfer agreements with a local hospital for patient emergencies. Some abortion facilities apply for and receive a variance allowing them to have an agreement instead with multiple doctors who are willing to treat emergency complications.
State Senate President Matt Huffman, R-Lima, told reporters that the amendment corrects the current law to ensure that, under the variance, physicians are close enough to treat patients suffering emergency complications, according to the Ohio Capital Journal.
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Two abortion facilities in Ohio have variances and could be affected by the change, if it passes the legislature, according to the report. They are the Planned Parenthood in Mount Auburn and the Women’s Med abortion facility in Dayton.
Here’s more from the Enquirer:
The Senate GOP-backed changes target Women’s Med, whose four listed physicians have ties to Wright State Physicians and teach at Wright State University’s Boonshoft School of Medicine. A Wright State University spokesman declined to comment on pending legislation.
It’s less clear how the proposed language would affect the Mount Auburn location. The doctors listed on their variance don’t teach at nearby hospitals and don’t appear to work outside the 25-mile radius of the clinic.
Mike Gonidakis, president of Ohio Right to Life, said abortion facilities should not rely on doctors at taxpayer-funded hospitals and schools to stay open.
“It is our hope that these strengthened safety measures will improve patient safety and women’s health,” Ohio Right to Life added in an email.
Meanwhile, pro-abortion groups attacked the amendment, claiming it is not medically necessary and its only purpose is to prevent women from getting abortions.
“Let’s be clear about what this amendment does: closes the doors to doctors in an effort to close the door to patients,” said Kellie Copeland, the executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio. “No patient has ever been helped by a closed door.”
The amendment is one of several measures in the state budget to help protect mothers and babies from abortion.
According to Capital Journal, lawmakers also budgeted $3 million for the Ohio Parenting and Pregnancy Program, which provides free counseling, pregnancy tests, diapers, clothes and other resources for pregnant and parenting families in need.
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