0 Comments · Wednesday, November 20, 2013
If passed, State Rep. John Becker's latest bill would effectively ban most public and private health insurance policies from covering abortions.
by Hannah McCartney
Union Township Rep. John Becker backs abortion ban for most insurance and Medicaid
Union Township Rep. John Becker doesn't exactly have a history of standing up for causes CityBeat agrees with, and this week we're seeing more of the same. He's the voice behind another Republican-backed bill introduced Nov. 14, that, if passed, would introduce regulations that would ban most public and private health insurance policies, including Medicaid, from covering abortion care and several common methods of contraception.According to a press release from NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio, H.B. 351 would manipulate language on the Ohio Revised Code to redefine abortion services and restrict public hospitals from performing abortions — even on women whose lives are at risk due to the pregnancy or who have been victims of rape. NARAL Executive Director Kellie Copeland commented, "Imagine
facing a life-threatening pregnancy complication and being told that
your insurance won’t cover the procedure because Ohio politicians banned
Imagine becoming pregnant as the result of a rape, and having to cover
the cost of an abortion out of pocket because this bill became law. It’s
unthinkable." Also introduced on Wednesday to U.S. Congress was the Women's Health Protection Act, what supporters are calling a historic pro-choice bill that would outlaw states' authority to limit women's reproductive rights by prohibiting states from passing Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers (TRAP) laws, which impose extra regulations on doctors who operate in medical practices that perform abortions. The bill, which will likely face harsh odds in the U.S.'s conservative-dominated House, wouldn't completely diminish states' existing anti-abortion laws, although it require judges to be more carefully reconsider cases that challenge the legality of already-existing laws. Becker's bill has yet to be assigned to a committee. Here's the bill in full. As one of the self-proclaimed "most conservative" members of his party, he's also a cosponsor of the state's Heartbeat Bill and once called the proposal of a needle-exchange program, which could reduce the spread of infectious bloodborne diseases like HIV/AIDS and hepatitis C, the product of a "liberal media agenda."In August, Becker introduced a bill that would kick a large chunk of pregnant women and low-income parents off of Medicaid by grossly lowering the entry eligibility. Becker also recently lobbied for the impeachment of the judge who
allowed the state to legally recognize the marriage of Jim Obergefell
and his 20-year partner, John Arthur, who recently passed away from Lou Gehrig's disease, for his decision.
by German Lopez
Audit slams former sheriff, part of The Banks sold, local abortion clinic could close
Early voting for the 2013 City Council and mayoral elections is now underway. Find your voting location here. Normal voting hours are 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., although some days are extended.On Oct. 29, local residents will be able to give feedback
to Cincinnati officials about the city budget — and also
nab some free pizza. The open budgeting event is from 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. on Oct. 29 at
1115 Bates Ave., Cincinnati.An audit of the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office (HCSO) found
former Sheriff Simon Leis crippled technological developments, stacked
leadership positions with political cronies and still kept his staff
fiercely loyal during his 25 years in charge of HCSO. The Oct. 15 audit
claims the agency was “largely frozen in time” and didn’t meet the most
basic modern standards, including a failure to adopt computer
spreadsheets and other modern technologies instead of keeping
paper-based records that only one person can access at a time. The audit
claims a few possible consequences for Hamilton County: outdated
policing policies, exposure to possible litigation and an overworked,
under-trained staff. To fix the mistakes, the audit recommends various
investments and changes to policies that could prove costly to the
county — perhaps too costly to a county government that has been forced
to make budget cuts for the past six years. Read more about the audit here.
Developers sold the apartments and 96,000 square feet of ground-floor retail space
in the first phase of The Banks for $79.5 million. In a memo, City
Manager Milton Dohoney claimed the sale is a sign of the strong market
that’s being built in Cincinnati. Dohoney noted that the sale will
provide nearly $1.2 million for the city and county, which will likely
go to other projects in The Banks, and allow Carter and The Dawson
Company to repay the city and county’s nearly $4.7 million retail fit-up
loan three years in advance. The sale should also increase the
property’s assessed value, which Hamilton County Auditor Dusty Rhodes previously
put at $52 million, or $27.5 million less than it actually sold for,
and subsequently lead to higher property-based tax revenue, according to
The Ohio Department of Health (ODH) could force
the Lebanon Road Surgery Center, a Cincinnati-area abortion clinic, to
close after a health examiner upheld ODH’s decision to revoke the
clinic’s license because it couldn’t establish a patient transfer
agreement with a nearby hospital. Abortion rights advocates touted the
closure as another example of how new regulations in the recently passed
state budget will limit access to legal abortions across the state. But
ODH handed down its original decision for the Cincinnati-area abortion
clinic in November 2012, more than half a year before Gov. John Kasich
in June signed the state budget
and its anti-abortion restrictions into law. Meanwhile, Ohio Right to
Life praised the state for closing down or threatening to close down
five abortion clinics this year.
Reminder: Officials project the streetcar will have a much greater economic impact in downtown than Over-the-Rhine, despite what some detractors may claim.The Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office last night began threatening to arrest homeless people who refuse to leave the Hamilton County Courthouse and Justice Center and find another place to sleep, according to Josh Spring of the Greater Cincinnati Homeless Coalition. The sheriff’s office says the steps are necessary to put an end to public urination and defecation on county property, but homeless advocates say the county should focus on creating jobs and affordable housing to solve the root of the problem. CityBeat covered the issue in greater detail here.
Former Ohio House Speaker Jo Ann Davidson questioned her fellow Republicans’ legal threats
against Gov. John Kasich’s plan to bypass the legislature and get the
federally funded Medicaid expansion approved through the Controlling
Board, a seven-member legislative panel. Davidson says Kasich is on
“firm ground” legally because the state budget contained a provision
that allows the state’s Medicaid director to expand the program. The
Kasich administration on Oct. 11 announced its intention to call on the Controlling Board to take up the expansion, which will use federal Obamacare funds for two years to extend Medicaid eligibility to more low-income Ohioans. The Health Policy Institute of Ohio previously found the expansion would generate $1.8 billion for Ohio and insure nearly half a million Ohioans over the next decade.
Ohio Libertarians and Greens threatened to sue the state
if the legislature passes a bill that would limit ballot access for
minor political parties. The Ohio Senate already approved the
legislation, and an Ohio House committee is expected to vote on it at a
hearing on Oct. 29.
More charges have been filed
against a local spine doctor accused of carrying out unnecessary
surgeries in the Cincinnati area and Florence, Ky., and billing health
care programs millions of dollars, according to court documents released
A race car managed to swap fossil fuels for hydrogen power.
by German Lopez
Posted In: Governor
at 11:18 AM | Permalink
Governor signed new anti-abortion restrictions into law with state budget in June
The Ohio Department of Health (ODH) could order the Lebanon Road
Surgery Center, a Cincinnati-area abortion clinic, to shut down after a
hearing examiner upheld ODH’s decision to revoke the clinic’s license because the clinic failed to establish a transfer agreement with a nearby hospital.
Abortion rights advocates touted the closure as
another example of how new regulations in the recently passed state
budget will limit access to legal abortions across the state. But ODH
handed down its original decision for the Cincinnati-area abortion
clinic in November 2012, more than half a year before Gov. John Kasich
in June signed the state budget and its anti-abortion restrictions into
NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio decried
“the closure of an abortion provider in the Cincinnati area despite an
exemplary record of medical safety.”
“Just as we feared when Gov. Kasich enacted medically
unnecessary regulations on abortion providers, officials at the Ohio
Department of Health have launched a regulatory witch hunt against
Ohio’s abortion providers and have recommended the closure of an
abortion clinic in Cincinnati,” said Kellie Copeland, executive director
of NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio, in a statement.
Ohio Right to Life, which opposes abortion rights, celebrated the decision.
“We are gratified to see yet another late-term abortionist
shutting down,” said Mike Gonidakis, president of Ohio Right to Life,
in a statement. “As a result of this Health Department order, Martin
Haskell, a strong proponent and former practitioner of the controversial
and deadly partial-birth abortion procedure, will no longer be able to
abort children and jeopardize women’s health in Hamilton County.”
Ohio law classifies abortion clinics as
ambulatory surgical facilities and requires they establish transfer agreements with
nearby hospitals, where clinics can send patients for more comprehensive care
in case of an emergency. The 2014-2015 state budget also barred
abortion clinics from establishing transfer agreements with public
hospitals, which abortion-rights advocates say greatly hinders the clinics because private hospitals are generally religious and oppose abortion rights.
The Cincinnati-area clinic is just one of five Ohio
clinics in the past year to either close down or face the threat of
closing down, according to The Columbus Dispatch. Without the five, Ohio would be reduced to just nine abortion clinics.
On Oct. 9, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Ohio announced a lawsuit
against Ohio’s newest anti-abortion restrictions. The ACLU claims the
regulations went beyond the budget’s purpose of appropriating funds and
therefore violated the Ohio Constitution’s “single subject” rule, which
requires each individual law keep to a single subject to avoid
complexity and hidden language.
The hearing examiner’s decision:
0 Comments · Wednesday, October 16, 2013
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU)
of Ohio on Oct. 9 announced it will sue the state of Ohio over
anti-abortion restrictions enacted as part of the 2014-2015 state
by German Lopez
Posted In: News
at 09:59 AM | Permalink
Civil liberties group says rules violate state constitution
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Ohio on
Wednesday announced it is suing the state of Ohio over anti-abortion
restrictions enacted as part of the 2014-2015 state budget.
“To put it simply, none of these amendments have any place
in the state budget bill,” said Susan Scheutzow, ACLU cooperating
attorney and partner at the law firm of Kohrman Jackson & Krantz, in
a statement. “This massive bill is not intended to deal with new
policy; the single subject of the budget should be the appropriation of
funds for existing government programs or obligations.”
The lawsuit claims the restrictions violate the Ohio
Constitution’s “single subject” rule, which requires each individual law keep to a single subject to avoid complexity and hidden language. In
the case of the budget, the ACLU argues that the law shouldn’t go beyond
appropriating state funds and tax collection.
The three anti-abortion budget amendments in question ban
public hospitals and abortion clinics from making transfer agreements
that are required to keep clinics open; order clinics to take
government-outlined steps, including showing a patient if a fetal
heartbeat is detected, before carrying out an abortion procedure; and
create a new “parenting and pregnancy” program that shifts state funds
into private organizations that are barred from mentioning abortion
“The first two amendments have nothing at all to do with
budget appropriations,” said Jessie Hill, ACLU cooperating attorney and
professor at Case Western Reserve University School of Law, in a
statement. “The third is also unconstitutional because it creates and
funds an entirely new government program, something that requires
The ACLU says the lawsuit is about promoting good
government that follows the rules, regardless of where any individual
stands on the issue of abortion.
The lawsuit was filed on behalf of Preterm, a women’s
health clinic in Cleveland that provides contraception, family planning
and abortion services.
One anti-abortion restriction that’s not being sued over:
The state budget effectively defunded clinics like Planned Parenthood by
deeming their non-abortion services less competitive.
Republican legislators and Gov. John Kasich approved the
anti-abortion restrictions with the state budget in June. But Democratic
critics say the new rules harshly restrict access to legal abortions
protected by the U.S. Supreme Court’s 1973 Roe v. Wade decision.
CityBeat covered the state budget in further detail here.
0 Comments · Wednesday, October 2, 2013
In comparison to men, Ohio women have
lower incomes, hold fewer leadership roles and disproportionately suffer
from the state’s high infant mortality rate.
0 Comments · Wednesday, August 21, 2013
Ohio legislators on Aug. 15 reintroduced a
bill that would ban abortions in the state as early as six weeks after
conception, but questions remain about the proposal’s constitutionality.
by German Lopez
Ohio’s jobless rate unchanged, Port patches parking lease, anti-abortion bill returns
Ohio’s unemployment rate remained at 7.2 percent in July, unchanged from June, according to new data from the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services.
The amount of employed Ohioans went up by 5,300 from month-to-month and
37,700 year-over-year, showing stronger signs of job growth than earlier in the year. But the amount of jobless Ohioans still looking for jobs went up by
3,000 between June and July. In the past year, the private
service-providing sector, education and health services and leisure and
hospitality have gained the most jobs, while local government and
construction jobs have plummeted.
The Port Authority of Greater Cincinnati proposed keeping neighborhood parking meter hours the same under a lease agreement with Cincinnati in which the city is handing over control of its parking meters, lots and garages to the Port and the agency is tasking private companies with operating the assets. Keeping the meter hours
the same as today, instead of expanding them as previously suggested,
would lower Cincinnati’s upfront lease revenue from $92 million
to $88.3 million and reduce annual payments, which were originally
projected at $3 million but estimated to go up over the life of the
lease. Still, the move would satisfy neighborhood residents and businesses who were worried the expanded hours would quickly become a financial hassle. CityBeat covered the parking lease and the controversy surrounding it in further detail here.
Republican legislators are reintroducing a bill that would ban abortions in Ohio as early as six weeks after conception,
even though questions remain about the proposal’s constitutionality.
The bill has been dubbed the “heartbeat bill” because it prohibits
abortions after a fetal heartbeat is detected. A federal judge on July
22 blocked a similar law in North Dakota after deeming it
unconstitutional. “The United States Supreme Court has unequivocally
said that no state may deprive a woman of the choice to terminate her
pregnancy at a point prior to viability,” wrote U.S. District Judge
Daniel Hovland, who was appointed to the District of North Dakota seat
by former President George W. Bush in 2002. Health experts generally
agree viability is not reached until 24 weeks into the pregnancy.
Part of the Cincinnati streetcar route could be operational in late 2015, much earlier than the Sept. 15, 2016 date the city previously announced for the entire track.
The Ohio Ethics Commission won’t investigate Gov. John Kasich’s relationship with a company
that received $619,000 in tax credits from JobsOhio because Kasich
supposedly made a clean break from the company upon taking office.
JobsOhio, the privatized development agency established by Kasich and
Republican legislators, has been mired in controversy in the past few
weeks for providing state aid to companies that have direct financial
ties to JobsOhio board members and the governor.
Meanwhile, Kasich is fueling speculation that he will run for president in 2016.
Cincinnati mayoral candidate and ex-Councilman John Cranley on Thursday unveiled an innovation plan
that he says will boost government transparency and help foster
Cincinnati’s newly gained reputation as a tech startup hub. The plan
would take $5 million in capital funds over four years and ask local
startup incubators Cintrifuse, The Brandery and CincyTech where they
would like to see the money going. It would also call for hiring a chief
innovation officer (CIO) and creating “CincyData,” a transparency
initiative that would gather and publish city data to create “a more
efficient, effective and user-friendly City government.” Under the plan,
both the CIO position and CincyData would be leveraged to find new ways
to carry out city services in the hopes of running the local government
Cincinnati Public Schools’ ratings are likely to dip
as the school district transitions into Common Core standards and a
new state report card system. Superintendent Mary Ronan says the
district is doing well but needs to work on getting kids’ reading scores
up to grade level. CityBeat originally covered the ratings drop here and some of the hurdles faced by CPS in the past few years here.
New data show the growth of health care costs is slowing down in the Cincinnati area.
Ohio will come up with a new plan to execute condemned inmates
no later than Oct. 4 to deal with the state’s expiring supply of drugs
used to carry out capital punishments. Specifics were not detailed in
Procter & Gamble is recalling dog and cat food because some of the product may be contaminated with Salmonella.
Science confirmed pulling out is a bad way to avoid pregnancy.
by German Lopez
Measure would ban abortion as early as six weeks after conception
Ohio legislators today
reintroduced a bill that would ban abortions in the state as early as six weeks after
conception, even as questions remain about the proposal’s
The bill has been dubbed the “heartbeat bill” because it prohibits abortions after a fetal heartbeat is detected.
In the past, some of Ohio’s anti-abortion groups,
including Ohio Right to Life, raised concerns about the heartbeat bill
because they said it could lead to legal challenges that would endanger
the anti-abortion movement. So far, Ohio Right to Life’s concerns might be proving true in North Dakota. A federal judge on July 22 blocked a similar law in that state after deeming it unconstitutional. “The United States Supreme
Court has unequivocally said that no state may deprive a woman of the
choice to terminate her pregnancy at a point prior to viability,” wrote
U.S. District Judge Daniel Hovland, who was appointed to the District of
North Dakota seat by former President George W. Bush in 2002.Health experts generally agree viability is not reached until 24 weeks into the pregnancy.
When contacted earlier today, Ohio Right to Life said it’s not providing comment on the bill yet.
Abortion-rights advocates are already standing against the proposal,
which they call “the heartless bill” and an attack on women’s rights.
“Here we go again,” says Kellie Copeland, executive
director of NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio. “A month after Gov. Kasich signed one of the
worst anti-choice bills in the nation that is already closing abortion
facilities, you’ve got this group coming back and saying, ‘No, no, no,
that’s not good enough. You have to outlaw abortion before women even
know they’re pregnant.’ ”
Forty of 99 legislators in the Ohio House have signed onto the bill, according to The Associated Press.
The Ohio Senate majority caucus and Gov. John Kasich have so far
declined to comment on the bill when asked by various reporters.
In June, the Republican-controlled General Assembly and Kasich passed a two-year state budget
that imposes regulatory hurdles that make it more difficult
to get an abortion in Ohio and have already forced various abortion
clinics to shut down in Ohio.