Republicans in the Ohio State Senate say they're ready to move the so-called "heartbeat bill," which would make it illegal to end a pregnancy once a heartbeat is detectable. As the Plain Dealer puts it, the bill "outlaws abortions for women before they even know they are pregnant," and would make Ohio the most anti-choice state in the country.
Ohio has seen a string of legislation recently designed to cut off women's access to this constitutionally protected right. In June, Ohio joined the states (pdf) that restrict access for public employees. Ohio now bans abortion services in any public facility and most abortion coverage from any health plans for public employees. Tucked inside the biennial budget bill, the measure applies to all "non-therapeutic abortions" and was .
A friend in Ohio, a public librarian, just got a notice from the health plan that abortion services are no longer covered:
The law defines "nontherapeutic abortions" as an abortion that is performed or induced when the mother's life would not be endangered if the fetus were carried to term or when the pregnancy was not the result of a rape of incest reported to a law enforcement agency.Your employer's health plan is subject to this law because it is considered a "political subdivision." To comply with the new law, we were required to discontinue your coverage of nontherapeutic abortions on September 29, 2011.We are sorry for the delayed notification.
This letter from an insurance company is not a surprise, in the sense that the legislature passed the law and Governor John Kasich signed the law, so now the insurers must comply. But the notice is still startling evidence of really big government in action.