Cosmopolitan Magazine took a break this week from the typical lists of celebrity stuff, couture, quizzes, sex tips and such to talk about Ohio.

I’ve posted on my blog about Ohio’s abhorrent abortion laws and the push to return to the 19th century in regulating women’s healthcare. Hell, in their wisdom, the GOP-controlled legislature decided they knew more about science and medicine than the AMA. To prove it they ignored accepted biologic definitions by putting a new definition for pregnancy into law.

As of last July, stuck into the state budget with other reprehensible regulations, Ohio declared that pregnancy starts at fertilization. The medical community says it starts at implantation. But that’s only science, after all.

I’ve also tried to remind people on Twitter, Facebook, on my blog and in person that the attack on women’s healthcare is not simply a Republican, old-confederacy problem. Ohio is basically a test ground for extremism.

Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas and other red southern states have enacted laws to severely restrict abortion and access to reproductive healthcare to women. Many were first tried in Ohio. We are, after all, a test market.

Let’s look.

Ohio turned over funding to pregnancy crisis centers. They are notorious for misleading and lying to woman to prevent abortion. And rape crisis centers lose state funding if they even mention abortion as an option.

The “Heartbeat Bill”. This gem has appeared again and again and again and again in front of the Ohio Legislature and would prohibit abortion once a fetal heartbeat is detected. That’s usually around eight weeks. In reality, most women aren’t aware they’re pregnant that early. In 2011, the Ohio House actually had a fetus testify via ultra sound. Needless to say, we were a national laughing stock. Thankfully the bill died a neglected death in the Senate. It’s again floating around the legislature, hoping to become law.

This bill has surfaced in Texas. When I last looked it hasn’t passed. Yet, it is Texas, after all. A similar bill was struck down in Arkansas.

Ohio was an early adopter of TRAP (targeted regulation of abortion providers) laws. First Ohio classified clinics as ambulatory surgical centers, which requires transfer agreements with local hospitals. Last July, Ohio forbid transfer agreements between abortion providers and any public hospital. The catch 22 is most private hospitals in Ohio have religious affiliations. This seems to be more effective than requiring admitting privileges. It is also the reason clinics are closing across Ohio, which is the goal of Ohio Right To Life. (Ohio Right To Life is headed by Mike Gonadakis, a Kasich appointee to the State Medical Board).

The move by Ohio to prohibit abortion after 20 weeks has been widely adopted by southern states such as Texas where it propelled Wendy Davis into national prominence.

That is the trick Ohio has pulled off with the skill of David Copperfield. While repressive abortion laws have a long and storied history in Ohio, people think we are still sane. Kasich has positioned himself as a reasonable person in the national media. The Tea Party-infused legislature is skirting absurdity under the radar.

When you mention extreme abortion laws, no one immediately thinks of Ohio. Instead, the South comes to mind, playing into old stereotypes.   Meanwhile, Ohio has gained a leadership role in rolling back women’s rights in stealth mode and nobody notices because the old Confederacy is the squirrel to the media’s dog.

Ohio is the dog whistle, unheard and unnoticed.

Thankfully, Cosmopolitan Magazine, of all media outlets, has noticed.

Bravo, Cosmo.