As has been much discussed, the Ohio House held a hearing last week on HB 351, which does two main things:

  • bans insurance coverage for hormonal birth control
  • forces women to bear the cost of life-saving abortion care

I’ve already talked about its inherent misunderstanding of how popular methods of birth control work. What needs more attention is the monstrous treatment of women with pregnancy complications.

Contrary to the assertion of the Dispatch, HB 351 isn’t really a bill to “restrict abortion coverage”. Coverage for nontherapeutic abortion (or elective abortion) is already banned on Ohio’s exchange, and hard to find on the large-group market.

The main thing the bill does is to redefine “nontherapeutic abortion”. So don’t say it “restricts abortion coverage”, say that it “makes rape survivors pay out of pocket to get an abortion”.

Here’s the bulk of the bill: rather than making exceptions for “rape, incest, and the health of the mother”, the only exception would be for an ectopic pregnancy. I try to stay civil on this blog, but…

What the hell?

Ectopic pregnancy isn’t even the most common life-threatening pregnancy complication!

Gestational diabetes, preeclampsia, sepsis, cancer? Sorry, your insurance won’t cover that, nor will any indigent care funds. Hope you have a few thousand dollars available!

Here’s the actual text:

“Nontherapeutic abortion” means an abortion that is performed or induced when the life of the mother would not be endangered if the fetus were carried to term or when the pregnancy of the mother was not the result of rape or incest

would become

“Nontherapeutic abortion” means an abortion that is performed or induced when the patient has not been diagnosed with an ectopic pregnancy.

At first, I thought that this was just an arbitrary selection. After letting the thought marinate for a while, I realized that in the other cases, there’s a remote chance of fetal survival.

The Ohio GOP has made it crystal clear: fetal life is more important than maternal life.

This isn’t “a bill to restrict abortion coverage”, it’s hate speech aimed at women.