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The Statehouse News Bureau provides educational, comprehensive coverage of legislation, elections, issues and other activities surrounding the Statehouse to Ohio's public radio and television stations.

Ohio Activists Oppose State Budget Plan, Say It Endangers Women And Minorities

Protesters at Ohio Statehouse June 29, 2021. [Dan Konik / Statehouse News Bureau]
Protesters at Ohio Statehouse June 29, 2021

The two-year budget awaiting Gov. Mike DeWine’s signature Wednesday morning is drawing criticism from activists who say it includes provisions that will harm many Ohioans, including restrictions on abortion, increased penalties for protesters and exemptions for medical professionals from treating people who they disagree with on moral grounds. 

Protesters stood outside the Ohio Statehouse the morning after the legislature passed the $74 billion budget, trying to bring attention to the parts of it they say are harmful to women and minorities.

Jasmine Henderson, with the Ohio Women’s Alliance, minces no words when talking about the majority-holding Republicans who pushed a budget she says will hurt women, LGBTQ people and minority populations. 

“The GOP legislature – you should be ashamed of yourselves. I hope you have problems sleeping at night. And I hope all of the violent things you have done that you think are based in morality – I hope that they eat your soul at night,” Henderson said.

NARAL ProChoice Ohio, the ACLU of Ohio, Planned Parenthood of Southwest Ohio, the Ohio Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice, Women Have Options, SIECUS: Sex Ed for Social Change and Unite for Reproductive and Gender Equity were some of the groups taking to the Statehouse steps just hours after lawmakers passed the budget.

As protesters gathered, Ohio Right to Life was thanking lawmakers for passing legislation the group supports, praising lawmakers for including $6 million for an abstinence-focused pregnancy prevention program and funding for pregnancy centers that don’t talk to patients about abortion options.

In a written statement, Ohio Right to Life President Mike Gonidakis also applauded a section of the budget bill that allows doctors to opt out of providing medical care in cases where they find doing so would be personally morally objectionable.

The budget was approved in both chambers of the Statehouse with overwhelming bipartisan support shortly before the June 30 deadline. DeWine – who has not been shy about using his line-item veto power in the past – has until the end of the day Wednesday to decide which budget provisions he will veto, if any. 

Copyright 2021 The Statehouse News Bureau. To see more, visit The Statehouse News Bureau.