Apparently passing stringent abortion laws — de facto bans — that rival those passed by southern states such as Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana and Missouri, where the legislatures are dominated by old-school white males, isn’t enough for the state of Ohio (or as I not so affectionately call it, Idiohio). And apparently, it’s not enough that state legislator John Becker (R-of course) earned national ridicule for proposing that health insurance only be allowed to cover treatment of ectopic pregnancies if the errant fetus is transplanted into the womb — a procedure that doesn’t exist.
Another of the Ohio GOP’s seemingly endless parade of rabid misogynists, the staunchly anti-woman state representative Niraj Antani, has introduced HB 90, scheduled for a committee vote today (Tuesday, June 4). Not surprisingly, one of his co-sponsors is John Becker. Titled “Spread information to protect humanity of unborn child,” a more accurate title would be “Spread untruths and purely religion-based beliefs to deny the humanity of women.”
What does this awful (and probably in a sane world, unconstitutional) bill provide? Progressive think tank Innovation Ohio offers a rundown.
First of all, it would require all public schools in the state to teach the “anatomical and physiological characteristics of the unborn child” in each week of gestation in grades 3-12. Incredibly, it also prohibits ANY sexuality education. Currently, Ohio has no state sex ed standards, only requiring that if a district has a sex ed curriculum that it focus on — surprise! — abstinence. Which, of course, doesn’t work.
HB 90 goes still further. In addition to mandating the creation and maintenance of a “pregnancy and child services database to provide women a comprehensive list of public and private adoption agencies,” which sounds suspiciously coercive, it requires that all public restrooms post the following statement:
“There are many public and private agencies willing and able to help you carry your child to term and assist you and your child after your child is born, whether you choose to keep your child or place your child for adoption. If you are pregnant, the State of Ohio strongly urges you to contact an agency listed on the Department of Health’s pregnancy and child services database.”
In fact, good luck finding support for raising your child in Ohio with its job loss, high poverty, huge income gap, underfunded schools and lack of sufficient affordable childcare. Its GOP legislators have proposed ending Medicaid expansion; they have proposed onerous “work” requirements for receiving food assistance. They have little to no interest in your born child.
And, by the way, there are thousands of Ohio children already waiting for adoption, a number that has grown with the opioid crisis, with Ohio the second leading state in opioid deaths after West Virginia. Sheesh — can’t we be #1 in anything?
Sadly, legislators like Becker, Antani and the odious Candice Keller, whose day job is running a “crisis pregnancy” center, are doing everything possible to drive educated, enlightened, talented, creative and entrepreneurial young people out of the state or assure they never look at Ohio as a place to live. Their heinous assault on women’s bodily autonomy is indeed helping the state live up to the nickname some wags have given it: the Mississippi of the north.