Ohio Governor Approves Strict Abortion Provisions as Texas Battle Wages On

While the battle over abortion limits continues in Texas, Ohio Gov. John Kasich, a Republican, signed into law Sunday evening a set of strict abortion restrictions as part of the state's budget.

The restrictions signed by Gov. Kasich include requiring women to undergo an ultrasound before having an abortion, as well as requiring post-abortion patients to be admitted to a private hospital, as opposed to a public hospital, if they need extended care following the procedure.

Additionally, the measures provide state funding to health clinics that don't provide abortions before Planned Parenthood, which does perform the procedure.

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Lastly, the provisions allow the state to suspend funding for rape crisis centers should it be revealed that they counsel patients on abortion options.

The abortion provisions signed on Sunday are part of the state's two-year $62 billion budget, which includes a $2.7 billion tax cut and $1.5 billion for education, according to the local WLWT news station.

Critics contend that these recently approved provisions make Ohio one of the strictest anti-abortion states in the country.

Although many Ohio Democrats are pouncing on the governor's recent approval of abortion restrictions, pro-life groups in the state are applauding his move, as well as the approval of the restrictions by the Republican-majority state legislature.

"Ohio Right to Life applauds Governor Kasich and the vast pro-life majorities in the House and Senate," Mike Gonidakis, president of the pro-life group Right to Life, said in a statement to CNN.

"It took great compassion and courage for our governor and pro-life legislature to stand up to the abortion industry that blatantly pressured them."

Marilyn Musgrave, vice president of federal affairs for the Susan B. Anthony List, a pro-life group, told The Washington Post that Kasich's approval of abortion restrictions answers the questions of many Americans who have become concerned about abortion regulation following the murder trial of Kermit Gosnell, a Philadelphia abortion doctor convicted of first-degree murder of three newborns, as well as involuntary manslaughter of one of his patients, at his "house of horrors" abortion clinic.

"This has been a year where the curtain has been pulled back, when people have taken another look at abortion," Musgrave told The Washington Post.

Proponents of the new budget argue that their goal in supporting the anti-abortion provisions was to ensure that state dollars would not pay for the procedure.

Others contested the provisions, arguing that their strictness could force many of the state's 12 abortion clinics to close.

"Today Governor Kasich enacted measures that prescribe medically unnecessary procedures, force doctors to mislead their patients and will force quality medical centers to close," Kellie Copeland, executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio, said in a statement, as reported by Reuters.

While Ohio's new budget goes into effect on Monday, another abortion battle wages on in Texas, where the state legislature is meeting in a special session convened by Republican Gov. Rick Perry to discuss a controversial abortion bill which was effectively blocked by Democratic Senator Wendy Davis (Fort Worth) last week when she filibustered against the bill for 10 hours.

The bill would prohibit abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy and would give Texas some of the strictest abortion laws in the country.

Following Sen. Davis' filibuster, Gov. Perry said in a statement that a special session would be held to address the bill, adding: "We will not allow the breakdown of decorum and decency to prevent us from doing what the people of this state hired us to do."

Currently, pro-life activists are also pushing for state legislatures to pass stricter abortion laws in the states of Mississippi, Alabama and Arkansas.

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