In one of the most controversial budget restructurings in the United States ever, Ohio lawmakers passed a $62 billion state budget, ripe with a $2.7 billion tax cut and a .25% sales tax rate hike. The worst news, however, is in the realm of women's reproductive rights, where lawmakers decided to sneak in a last-minute set of anti-abortion measures like cutting Planned Parenthood's budget, restricting rape clinics from discussing abortion options, and encouraging pro-life crisis management centers. These measures serve no purpose but to viciously attack women who wish to control their own reproductive rights.
A group of pro-choice activists fought back, making this video:
Behind every chuckle induced by "How the New Ohio Budget Affects Your Vagina" lies an unfortunate truth for Ohio women seeking an abortion.
Imagine being forced to see an ultrasound image of your fetus, to hear his heartbeat, and then to be told about the pain it endures throughout the abortion procedure. As if deciding to get an abortion is not painful enough for a woman's body, it appears that lawmakers are intent on sprinkling guilt and self-loathing onto that horrific feeling.
Next, the new budget reveals a $1.4 million cut in federal funding for Planned Parenthood, which will cause the closure of three facilities for women. Furthermore, Ohio lawmakers are so concerned about the female womb that they decided to also regulate rape clinics. A sexually abused woman, a product of this society's rape culture, will be burdened by the suffering of an invasive attack of her sexuality and privacy because the law says she should have the child. Ohio women will soon be denied options and will be made to feel as inferior and helpless in front of the law as they were in front of their captor.
However, the Ohio budget drafters attempted to mitigate (see:hide) the true damage of their measures by allocating money to crisis management centers, which are little more than pro-life Church groups. Supported by various religious organizations and discouraging abortion, crisis management centers are disguised as medical centers. However, desperate young women soon learn of the true nature of crisis centers once they are shown sickening images of dead fetuses and forced to keep a painful memory.
It is important to recognize that Ohio's new regulations constitute a heavy step backwards for women's reproductive rights, and the negative consequences of limited contraceptive options. By forcing women to justify their reactions to sexual assault, their decisions to repudiate painful physical reminders of rape, or by telling them they should be ashamed of their bodies, lawmakers are encouraging helplessness and self-loathing. Proselytism, fear of change, and partisanship are the rotten apples in this nation's basket of fruit, and we ought to recognize and fight against the decay.