Abortion at center of Ohio protest

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Just days after State Sen. Wendy Davis made national headlines with an 11 hour filibuster against abortion legislation in Texas, abortion rights supporters protested on Thursday against a portion of Ohio’s budget bill that includes abortion provisions.

A portion of the bill includes legislation that requires abortion providers to detect and report a fetal heartbeat to the pregnant woman before an abortion procedure. The provision also redefines a “medical emergency” in reference to abortion.

The last minute provisions to the bill drew a crowd at the Ohio State House on Thursday morning with protesters waiting outside.

“They don’t want to face the voters of Ohio with this extremist agenda,” said Kellie Copeland with NARAL Pro Choice Ohio.

Molly Toth, co-founder of Ohio Lady Advocates in Youngstown said many of the politicians use abortion to avoid addressing real issues.

“I think it’s despicable they slip these things in at the last minute,” said Toth. “We had people who ran on campaigns promising jobs and economic development and balancing the budget, and this issue is outside of that realm.”

Toth said more people need to take a stance like Davis whose 11-hour speech in the Texas legislature, along with the help of protesters in the public gallery, successfully killed a bill imposing new limits to abortion in Texas.

“It was a test of endurance, but it was well worth it,” said Davis. “This was a very important issue.”

Mike Gonidakis with Ohio Right to Life, said the provision should not come as a surprise, regardless of when it was placed in the budget bill.

“In 2010, we voted an entire pro-life slate in Ohio, and we continue to have pro-life majorities in the House and Senate,” said Gonidakis.

Ohio Gov. John Kasich has taken a pro-life stance. He has until Sunday to sign the budget with the new provisions.

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