Republicans Add Heartbeat Abortion Amendment To Conference Committee Budget Report

Republicans in the House added a Heartbeat Abortion Amendment to the Conference Committee Budget Report. We urge you to contact your legislators to vote in support of an amendment that will drastically reduce the number of abortions performed in Ohio.

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Phil Burress

By: Jim Siegel The Columbus Dispatch – Wednesday June 26, 2013 7:19 AM 

Before performing an abortion, Ohio doctors would be required to perform an external ultrasound to search for a heartbeat and then inform the woman if one is detected, under a change added to the two-year budget yesterday.

 The provision joins other anti-abortion measures already in the budget bill, which was approved yesterday by a joint conference committee. They include cutting off Planned Parenthood from federal family-planning dollars and banning abortion providers from transferring patients to public hospitals.

 “This is continuing to go way overboard by a majority obsessed with abortion,” said Rep. Mike Foley, D-Cleveland.

 Under the amendment added in committee yesterday, a doctor must inform the woman if a heartbeat is detected and tell the woman the statistical probability of carrying the fetus to full term. The amendment also changes the definition of medical emergency.

 “I don’t think it really is that different than other activity that is going on,” said Rep. Ron Amstutz, R-Wooster.

 The budget proposals drew fire from abortion-rights supporters, who accused Republicans of “ playing political games with women’s access to basic health-care services.”

 “If the governor and members of the Ohio General Assembly want to practice medicine, they should go to medical school,” said Kellie Copeland, executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio.

 The abortion requirement was among many final changes to the two-year, $62 billion budget, which will get final House and Senate votes on Thursday.

 GOP lawmakers added their new tax package to the budget plan, a net $2.7 billion tax cut over three years, thanks to a phased-in 10 percent income tax cut and a 50 percent deduction on up to $250,000 of income for business owners. The plan also increases the sales tax from 5.5 percent to 5.75 percent and makes a variety of other changes.

 Some small businesses and farmers raised concerns about the original commercial-activities tax proposal last week, but under the revised plan approved yesterday, businesses with less than $1 million in gross receipts will see no change in the tax. Those with sales above $1 million will pay more — up to $2,450 for those with sales over $4 million.

 The revised tax package also no longer eliminates the tax exemption for those earning under $10,000, and it keeps the $20 personal-tax credit for those earning less than $30,000.

 The final school-funding plan spends the same amount as the Senate-passed plan — over $700 million more than the current two-year budget — but changes yesterday do more to drive money to poorer schools by adding funds for economically disadvantaged students.

 “We are pleased to see additional investment into that component of the formula,” said Barbara Shaner of the Ohio Association of School Business Officials.

 In exchange, the plan pumps less money through the K-3 literacy portion of the funding formula that would have gone to districts on a per-student basis regardless of wealth.

 In addition, as a moratorium lifts and the state prepares to open five new e-schools next year, the budget now caps enrollment at those schools at 1,000 in the first year. For existing schools, it caps enrollment increases at 15 percent for schools with more than 3,000 students and 25 percent for those with fewer than 3,000.

 The revised budget also:

 • Fixes a problem with the state’s wild-animal law, which inadvertently required those who got permits to breed certain animals to also sterilize those animals.

 • Provides $665,000 per year for Ohio State University’s STAR House, which assists homeless youth. In exchange, the budget no longer contains $1 million for Ohio State’s Human Trafficking Center.

 • Removes from the bill requirements that the chief of the Division of Oil and Gas Resources Management, when determining the contamination of a water supply, review available baseline water-supply test data.

 • Does not include a Medicaid expansion under Obamacare.