During Ohio House sessions from June 25, 2013 to June 27, 2013, Republicans added ultrasound requirements and other anti-choice amendments to the state budget bill, and then proceeded to pass the bill without holding any hearings on the provisions. Recordings of all of these house sessions were made by a team from Ohio Government Telecommunications (OGT) and are available online.
This past Wednesday, Ohio Democrats responded by holding a discussion with legal experts, doctors and women’s health advocates to discuss the budget provisions. Sponsors, including State Rep. Kathleen Clyde, had scheduled OGT to record the event but, at the last minute, they were told House Republicans had pulled the plug. “Once again, House Republicans refuse to focus on critical issues pertaining to Ohio’s women,” said Clyde in response. “They have attempted to block public access to meaningful discourse surrounding women’s health issues.”
The event was held in Statehouse Room 121. The door to the room was clearly labeled “Press Conference”. A quick check of OhioChannel.org shows that lots of other legislative press conferences have been broadcast and recorded by OGT.
Just recently, on August 15th, 2013, Republican State Representatives Hagan and Wachtmann held a big press conference – in exactly the same room – to introduce their latest incarnation of the Hearthbeat Bill. Stars of Reality TV Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar, along with 17 of their 19 children, were on hand to show support for the bill, which would effectively ban all abortions in Ohio.
No Democrats, doctors or women’s health advocates were invited to participate. And yet the press conference was recorded by a team from OGT and is available on the Ohio Channel website here.
“It is clear that House Republicans will stop at nothing to suppress any views they disagree with, especially when it comes to health care for Ohio women,” Rep. Kathleen Clyde said of the decision to pull cameras from the room. “These egregious actions highlight the need for transparency in state government more than ever.”