As the women of Texas shut that whole thing down, the Ohio GOP has added another War on Women provision to the Ohio budget.

As is apparently the norm, they want to redefine “medical emergency” and put women’s lives on the line for the sake of their obsessed ideology (and campaign donations).

The latest provision–in addition to the provisions that will close most of Ohio’s abortion facilities, the one that defunds family planning providers, and the one that uses federal welfare money to pay for scientifically fanciful anti-abortion billboards–is largely an “ultrasound-and-mansplaining” requirement in the Ohio budget.

At least 24 hours before an abortion, women will be forced to undergo a medically unnecessary ultrasound, raising the cost of the abortion. The doctor will also be required to give the probability of birth.

Then comes the weird stuff.

  • It changes the description of “medical emergency” from “serious risk to… physical health” to “irreversible impairment of a major bodily function”. Women who miscarry will be forced to wait 24 hours.
  • In the Ding Dong Ditch provision, abortion providers will be required to provide contact information.
  • The word “fetus” is redefined to include blastocysts “from the moment of conception”. This is superbly far-reaching and dangerous. Depending on how other sections of the Ohio Revised Code use the word “fetus”, this redefinition has implications on hormonal birth control1.
  • The word “pregnancy” is redefined to include fertilization. Again, this is scientifically unsound: pregnancy begins at implantation. If this has bearing on other sections, it could have unforeseen ramifications.

Needless to say, these are substantial divergences from the language in most of Ohio’s existing medical laws (I suspect that they’re lifted from the Heartbeat Bill) and should certainly not be passed in the state budget without any debate or examination of their implications.

The budget vote is Thursday. See you at the Statehouse.


1 It should be mentioned here that a fertilized egg is unambiguously not a fetus, and that hormonal birth control is hugely unlikely to have any effect on an egg that is fertilized but has not implanted.