95 percent of ancient Ohio was forested. But centuries ago there were also small regions of prairie. Tall grasses and wildflowers were part of the prairie ecology and so were bison. Researchers near Columbus are trying to reestablish a prairie / bison ecosystem.
Abortion In The State Budget
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Buried in the Senate version of the budget are many things that seemingly have nothing to do with state spending, many of them related to abortion.
The Senate version of the budget would require all ambulatory surgical centers to have agreements with hospitals to transfer patients, but bans agreements to transfer patients from abortion clinics to public hospitals. And Kellie Copeland from NARAL Pro Choice Ohio says the Department of Health can close clinics that donâ€™t have transfer agreements.
This is about paperwork, a bureaucratic way that they can basically, if they make abortion illegal, they can make it virtually impossible to access by closing every clinic they can get their hands on.
But thatâ€™s not how Mike Gonidakis with Ohio Right to Life sees it.
What weâ€™re seeing here is the abortion industry trying to cause a stir and create a problem where none exists in order to not be regulated. They donâ€™t want to be regulated, and this legislation will do this. If this state â€“ or any state â€“ oversteps their boundaries in their pursuit of doing their job, thatâ€™s why we have a court system in place to bring them back in line and protect rights.
Copeland says pro-choice activists fight to protect womenâ€™s health, and so they support clinics being held to the highest medical standards. And she says sheâ€™s also concerned about a provision that sends some federal temporary aid for needy families or TANF funds to so-called crisis pregnancy centers.
Those facilities are operated by anti-abortion groups, and abortion rights advocates say they often give out inaccurate information.
But Gonidakis says he expect such criticism from those activists.
â€œAbortions are at a historic low in the state of Ohio, and any time they canâ€™t perform abortion, theyâ€™re losing money to their bottom line. More women are going to the over 125 pregnancy centers as opposed to the less than 30 abortion clinics. So of course theyâ€™re going to say that because theyâ€™re losing market share,” Gonidakis says.
But Copeland says taken with the stripping of state funds to Planned Parenthood centers, she feels the budget is bad news.
â€œOhio women are looking at a budget that, if they want to avoid an unplanned pregnancy and go to a family planning center, it may be closed; if they need to have an abortion for whatever reason there might not be one in their community any more because those have been closed, and if they choose to parent a child and need a little assistance that money may be gone as well,” Copeland says.
Democrats had proposed amendments to make changes in these provisions, but they were tabled. The vote for the Senate budget went along party lines.