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Democratic Lawmakers Fight For Women's Healthcare

Decry Republican efforts to silence debate on bill threatening women's health
December 18, 2020
Democrat Newsroom

COLUMBUS- State Reps. Allison Russo (D-Upper Arlington), Beth Liston (D-Dublin) and Jessica Miranda (D-Forest Park) today stood in opposition to the House passage of Senate Bill (SB) 260, the latest Republican attack on access to safe, legal abortion care that would ban abortion services via telehealth. The bill passed the Ohio House early Friday morning after House Speaker Bob Cupp (R-Lima) refused to allow floor debate on the legislation. It now heads to the governor’s desk. 

"SB 260 is a blatant attack on a woman’s right to accessible, quality reproductive healthcare," said Rep. Russo. "Telemedicine is a proven and effective means of delivering high-quality healthcare, including medication abortion.  We are in the midst of a global pandemic—we should be focusing on making sure Ohio’s women have access to the safe, quality, medically sound healthcare they need instead of putting up roadblocks.  Politicians are not physicians, and we put patient well-being and safety at risk when we intrude into the realm of medical care without any regard for accuracy, peer-reviewed evidence, and accepted clinical practice."

Democrats say SB 260 would criminalize doctors for simply doing their jobs. Under the bill, a doctor violating the law could face a fourth-degree felony on the first offense, and a third-degree felony for subsequent violations.

"SB 260 arbitrarily imposes the will of the legislature in terms of how medicine is practiced and which medications are safe. It sets a dangerous precedent that says this body has more medical expertise when it comes to determining what is best for patients than medical professionals. The legislature should not be allowed to practice medicine without a license," said Rep. Liston.

Since debate was closed by Speaker Cupp on SB 260, Democrats were forced to voice their concerns during a Republican measure to expand telehealth services in other areas.

"The hypocrisy of this General Assembly is infuriating. We need to take safety precautions that aim to make bills viable pieces of legislation. Instead of SB 260, we should be introducing legislation that creates and respects equity," said Rep. Miranda.