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Ohio House Weighs Bill Barring Abortion Coverage

June 5, 2014 — The Ohio House on Tuesday considered a bill (HB 351) that would ban public and private health plans in the state from covering nearly all abortions, including in cases of rape, incest and danger to a woman's life, the Columbus Dispatch reports.

The bill would only permit abortion coverage in instances of ectopic pregnancies, according to the Dispatch.

In addition, the bill would bar Medicaid and health plans for state employees from covering certain birth control methods, such as IUDs.

Hearing Details

State Rep. John Becker (R), the bill's sponsor, acknowledged during testimony on Tuesday that the bill could be interpreted to ban birth control pills, which he said was not his intention. He said members could introduce an amendment to clarify.

However, he defended all the other aspects of the bill, saying that the "right to life" of a fetus "trumps" concerns about abortion coverage in cases of rape and incest. He said that the attackers in those cases should be executed, not the fetus.

State Rep. John Carney (D) said the bill was "very disrespectful to the women of [the] state" and disputed Becker's suggestion that using an intrauterine device could be considered abortion. He said it was "just a fact" that an IUD does not cause abortion.

Planned Parenthood Advocates of Ohio President and CEO Stephanie Knight said, "Politicians have no place in [women's] decision-making process" about abortion, "and that includes using financial restrictions to force a woman's decision" (Mitchell, Columbus Dispatch, 6/4).