Democratic gubernatorial candidate Ed FitzGerald is urging a coalition effort to begin a long, complicated petitioning process that could repeal some of the anti-abortion measures in the two-year state budget.
If the petitioning process is successful, it would force the Ohio General Assembly to consider repealing aspects of the budget that don’t involve appropriations of money. If the General Assembly changes, rejects or ignores the repeal proposal, it could be put on the ballot in November 2014.
FitzGerald is pushing the effort through a new website, OhioansFightBack.com.
Speaking at a press conference July 11, FitzGerald also questioned the constitutionality of some of the anti-abortion measures, particularly those that require doctors to give certain medical information regarding abortions and restrict publicly funded rape crisis centers from discussing abortion as a viable option.
He said such rules might violate free speech rights.
The state budget effectively defunds contraceptive care and other non-abortion services at various family planning clinics, increases funding to anti-abortion crisis pregnancy centers, imposes a regulatory hurdle to effectively shut down abortion clinics and funds rape crisis centers on the condition they don’t discuss abortion as a viable option with victims.
Days before the budget’s passage, Republican legislators added an amendment that forces women to get an ultrasound prior to getting an abortion. Doctors are also required to inform the patient if a heartbeat is detected during the ultrasound and provide an estimate of the fetus’s chances of making it to birth.
FitzGerald, who’s currently Cuyahoga County executive, plans to run against Republican Gov. John Kasich in 2014.
Kasich signed the controversial state budget on June 30, despite calls for him to use his line-item veto powers — a move that would have kept the rest of the budget in place but repealed the anti-abortion provisions.