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Ohio, Indiana Lawmakers Advance Abortion Measures

Posted On February 22, 2016

By Mike Perleberg

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(Undated) – Ohio’s governor is cutting off funding for Planned Parenthood as lawmakers in neighboring Indiana debate what should happen to the bodies of aborted fetuses.

Ohio Governor John Kasich signed a bill Sunday that prohibits the state from contracting for health services with any organization that performs or promotes abortions.

The measure would strip nearly $1.5 million in state health department funding from Planned Parenthood because of its ties to abortion. The funds in question support HIV testing, cancer screenings and violence-prevention programs.

Planned Parenthood President Cecline Richards said the law will have devastating consequences for women in Ohio.

“John Kasich is proudly eliminating care for expectant mothers and newborns; he is leaving thousands without vital STD and HIV testing, slashing a program to fight domestic violence, and cutting access to essential, basic health care,” Richards said.

However, the governor’s office said the Ohio Department of Health has at least 150 other sub-grantees and contractors for the affected grants and projects addressing such issues as new born babies, infant mortality, expectant mothers, violence against women, and minority HIV/AIDS.

“ODH will reallocate funding from ineligible providers under the new law to other currently eligible providers, ranging from local health departments and community organizations to hospitals and universities. These organizations will be required to submit proposals in order to receive funding,” said John Andrews, a spokesman for the governor’s office.

Meanwhile, a debate over an Indiana bill which would require aborted or miscarried fetuses to be cremated or interred is drawing attention to how fetal tissue is disposed of.

House Bill 1337 passed the House on a 74-23 vote on February 2. If the bill becomes law, it would establish that informed consent for an abortion must be obtained in a private setting. It would also create a law requiring a pregnant woman considering an abortion must be given the opportunity to view the fetal ultrasound imaging and hear the heartbeat at least 18 hours before the abortion is performed. Physicians providing abortions would also be required to have admitting privileges to a local hospital.

The bill also seeks to make it a misdemeanor crime for a person to knowingly transports an aborted fetus into, or out of, Indiana, unless the aborted fetus is transported for the sole purpose of final disposition. State Senator Michael Young (R-Indianapolis), a sponsor of the bill in the Senate, says the fetus provision is needed in light of state regulators’ recent fine against a medical waste disposal company that violated its state permit by accepting fetal remains.

Regulators found MedAssure of Indiana LLC violated its permit by accepting shipments of medical waste that included fetal remains from a Missouri company. Young suggested at a news conference last week those fetal remains were “little babies.”

HB 1337 currently resides in the Senate Health & Provider Services Committee. It must pass the committee this week in order to avoid a legislative deadline for bills to pass their first committee.