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Pro-Choice Advocates Say They're Undeterred By Budget

Ohio’s budget was a big victory for Ohio Right to Life as five bills it supported were attached to the state’s new two year fiscal plan. But NARAL Pro Choice Ohio says the fight isn’t over. So where does the battle over abortion in Ohio go from here? Ohio Right to Life President Mike Gonadakis is pretty pleased now that Republican Governor John Kasich has signed a budget that includes five anti abortion amendments. "Well we are going to see these through implementation now for these five measures that we have been able to get into Ohio law and make sure they are implemented appropriately. We have some strong interest in adoption reform. "Adoption is one of the greatest options for any Mother who is not able to raise her own child so we are going to be working with Senator Shannon Jones this summer to put a comprehensive adoption bill forward so that’s our next step," Gonadakis says. Gonadakis says that bill will focus on making adoption easier and more affordable. He’s not ruling out more legislation on abortion though. "Well you know, there was 24,000 abortions in Ohio last year so our work is not done. We are going to continue so we can end abortion in Ohio." The five measures included in this budget would provide more state oversight of abortion clinics, make it harder for them to operate and would put Planned Parenthood at the back of the line for federal family planning dollars. Gonadakis says he thinks Ohioans want their lawmakers to pass this type of legislation. And he says his organization stands ready to support lawmakers who passed it. "We strongly encourage the other side to make it a political issue because all of the polling demonstrates, both state and national, that Ohio is a pro life state. So we want it to be a front and center issue because just look at the facts. Just look at the latest Quinnipiac polling -- Governor Kasich is at 54 percent. "The next day the poll showed President Obama dropped 29 points with women voters in the state of Ohio. So let’s make these issues front and center and talk about them because we know that Ohioans identify more with the pro life movement than they do with the pro choice movement," Gonadakis says. "That’s nonsense and he knows it," responds Kellie Copeland with NARAL Pro Choice Ohio. She says Gonadakis is trying to distort the truth. "Every exit poll in Ohio shows the majority of Ohioans are pro choice. And everyone who has any sort of memory whatsoever knows the 2010 election was about the economy. Governor Kasich, in no way, campaigned on limiting access to women’s health care but that’s what he got when he got into office. It’s a bait and switch," Copeland says. Copeland says her group will work to make sure voters remember these issues when they go to the polls next year. "It’s important that over the next year, coming into the election, that voters understand that he has passed more restrictions on access to birth control, cancer screenings and women’s health care than any other Governor in more than a decade. And they need to keep that in mind when they vote next November in the 2014 election." Copeland says her group is also looking to take some other immediate actions. "Everything’s on the table. We have attorneys and other expert litigators are looking at the language now to determine what kind of legal challenges will happen in the meantime but ultimately, it will be the voters who hold Governor Kasich responsible for endangering women’s health," Copeland says. Barring any court action, the new measures involving family planning and abortion will go into effect in 90 days.