December 22, 2014

Elyria
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Lorain County official criticizes cuts to women’s health programs

Shawver

Karen Shawver

LORAIN — Lorain City Treasurer Karen Shawver spoke out against Gov. John Kasich’s state budget on Wednesday, calling it an attack on women’s health at the same time that more than 500 people were storming the Statehouse to protest Kasich’s provisions.

During a press conference at the Lorain County Democratic Headquarters, Shawver criticized provisions in the budget that would effectively defund Planned Parenthood by placing it and other unaffiliated family planning clinics at the back of the line behind local health departments and community centers for receiving federal money allocated by the Ohio Department of Health.

She said Planned Parenthood received $1.4 million in budget cuts as a result.

Opponents of the budget have also protested provisions requiring women to have an ultrasound before an abortion and for doctors to inform the woman of a heartbeat. Under the new budget, funding would be provided to rape crisis centers, but rape counselors are prohibited from discussing abortion.

Shawver said Kasich signed the measures this summer without a public hearing on the changes.

“Hiding these harmful provisions in the state budget at the 11th hour, in the dark of night, and with no public input is demeaning and degrading to the dignity of Ohio women,” she said. “Women across the state are fully capable of making their own decisions, just like they make other important decisions every day for themselves, their families and their businesses.”

The provisions took effect Sept. 29 for Ohio residents.

Shawver said attempts to change the provisions by Democrats have failed, but she asked Ohioans who are against the legislation to elect Ed FitzGerald into office. FitzGerald, a Democrat, is currently the Cuyahoga County executive — the leader who replaced the three commissioners when the form of government was changed — who is challenging Kasich for governor.

“It’s time that Ohio calls on Gov. Kasich to get out of our exam rooms, get out of delivery rooms, get out of our surgery suites and let evidence-based medicine determine the best patient outcomes,” she said.

Shawver’s statements came as more than 500 opponents of limiting access to abortions and other women’s health care protested at the Statehouse.

Contact Chelsea Miller at 329-7123 or cmiller@chroniclet.com. Follow her on Twitter @ChelseaMillerCT.