The Ohio House of Representatives concurred on the Senate amendment to Substitute House Bill 294 during today’s voting session.
Authored by Representatives Bill Patmon (D-Cleveland) and Margy Conditt (R-Liberty Township), HB 294 prohibits taxpayer dollars from being used to perform or promote non-therapeutic abortions, redirecting those resources to entities that provide healthcare services for women and to state programs focused on improving Ohio’s infant mortality rate.
“Amended Substitute House Bill 294 is about ensuring our tax dollars are used for programs that are helping women and children, especially infants, every day in their healthcare needs,” said Representative Conditt.
The legislation redirects funding to healthcare service entities that provide women and children with comprehensive health care and family planning services. As Representative Conditt explained in committee testimony, there is a substantial number of alternative healthcare providers, pregnancy help centers and free community health clinics that provide services to Ohioans all over the state, including in underserved and rural areas, that do not perform or promote non-therapeutic abortions.
“In Pivot of Civilization, Margaret Sanger said of African Americans, immigrants and indigents, ‘…human weeds,’ ‘reckless breeders,’ ‘spawning…human beings who never should have been born,’” Patmon said. “Since 1973, 58,586,256 minority and majority babies have never had a chance. In 2014, Ohio reported 21,186 abortions with 39 percent of those abortions being performed on African-American women, although they only make up 13 percent of the population. We say enough is enough.”
The bill sponsors also stressed the importance of addressing the state’s high infant mortality rate. In 2013, Ohio’s infant mortality rate was 7.4, which is 23 percent higher than the national rate, according to the Ohio Department of Health. Infant mortality rate is calculated by the number of deaths of infants under one year old per 1,000 live births.
The Senate amendment that was concurred upon today continued the fight against infant mortality and for the health care of women across the state. The two components of the Senate amendment for Sub. HB 294 are as follows:
• Sends an additional $250,000 to the Ohio Association of Community Health Centers to promote safe sleep practices for new moms and babies, birth spacing, and smoking cessation.
• Requires Medicaid to implement presumptive eligibility strategies in local health departments and WIC clinics to allow pregnant women earlier access to prenatal care.
Amended Substitute House Bill 294 now awaits consideration by Governor Kasich.