ACLU of Ohio Files Suit Against Budget Amendments that Restrict Reproductive Rights
On October 9, 2013, the ACLU of Ohio filed a lawsuit challenging several abortion-related amendments inserted into the massive 2013 state budget bill (HB 59).
One of the amendments in question bans public hospitals from making transfer agreements with abortion clinics. Another requires clinics to follow a government script when dealing with patients and to present those patients with evidence of a fetal heartbeat before performing an abortion or face criminal charges. A third amendment creates a new state “parenting and pregnancy” program that siphons state money directly to private organizations that are forbidden from mentioning abortion services.
These amendments have no place in a state budget bill. In fact, they violate the Ohio Constitution’s “single subject rule,” which mandates that legislation deal with only one issue, the appropriation of funds for existing government programs or obligations.
The abortion debate will no doubt continue, but allowing the legislature to violate the constitution in order to get what they want ultimately hurts us all.
That’s why this litigation is about reproductive justice and good government. You don’t have to be pro-choice to understand that the business of the legislature should be conducted above board and in the full light of day.