Skip to content Skip to footer

Ohio Rep. Introduces Bill That Would Redirect Funds to Fake Abortion Clinics

“Rep. Williams’ bill is just the latest attack on our rights by extremists,” one Democratic lawmaker said.

The Ohio Statehouse is pictured in Columbus, Ohio.

Republican Rep. Josh Williams introduced a bill this week in Ohio aimed at withholding state subsidies from any government entities that provide direct or indirect support for abortion.

“Rep. Williams’ bill is just the latest attack on our rights by extremists who want to ban all abortions and take away Ohioans’ access to birth control and IVF treatment,” Rep. Michele Grim (D) said.

The bill, House Bill 475, would force local governments to report all expenditures used “to support access to abortion, to provide reimbursement for abortion services or any related activity, including travel and donations to entities that support, promote, or provide abortion” to the state auditor monthly.

Funds redirected from local governments would be placed into a newly established “abortion adjustment fund,” from which pregnancy centers — fake clinics that are aimed at disseminating misinformation and propaganda to people seeking abortions — could seek grants.

House Bill 475 would likely impact Planned Parenthood of Greater Ohio, which relies on funding from various local governments in the state. This could pose challenges for people seeking abortion services who may not be able to afford the procedure without support.

“They lost badly in November, but they don’t care what Ohioans think. They will never stop following every available path to restrict our reproductive freedom,” Grim said.

In November, 57 percent of Ohioans voted to enshrine the right to an abortion in the state’s constitution by voting yes on Issue 1. “Ohioans rejected disinformation and fear and voted instead to ensure that every Ohioan has access to the reproductive health care they need here in our state,” Lauren Blauvelt, co-chair of Ohioans United for Reproductive Rights, said in a statement after the win.

Jamie Miracle, the deputy director of Pro-Choice Ohio, has said that Williams’s bill could potentially clash with Issue 1, which included language forbidding government intervention “directly or indirectly” in reproductive choices.

“Local governments took action in the days and weeks following the devastating Dobbs decision to support their residents,” Miracle said. “Cities should be celebrated for that. Instead here comes the state again to punish anyone who dares disagree with them.”

In spite of the November victory, the state has continued to assert that it can enforce a six-week abortion ban which would involve requiring doctors to inform patients of whether the fetus has a heartbeat, as well as document the reasons someone has chosen to have an abortion. The abortion ban is currently blocked from going into effect by the courts.

“With the Ohio Constitution now explicitly protecting the right to abortion, discriminatory restrictions that require only abortion patients to delay receiving medical treatment that they have already firmly decided they want, to make additional, unnecessary in-person visits to a clinic to receive that care, and to receive irrelevant and potentially distressing and stigmatizing information can finally be dismantled,” Meagan Burrows, staff attorney with the ACLU Reproductive Freedom Project, said last month.

In March, the ACLU of Ohio filed a lawsuit contesting ongoing abortion restrictions, which include a requirement for patients to wait at least 24 hours after receiving unnecessary state-mandated information in person before accessing abortion care.

“These laws are now in clear violation of the newly amended Ohio Constitution, which enshrines the explicit and fundamental right to abortion and forbids the state from burdening, prohibiting, penalizing, and interfering with access to abortion, and discriminating against abortion patients and providers,” Jessie Hill, cooperating attorney for the ACLU of Ohio, said in a statement. “Whatever a patient’s reasons, accessing abortion is essential to their autonomy, dignity, and ability to care for themselves and their families.”

We have hours left to raise $12,000 — we’re counting on your support!

For those who care about justice, liberation and even the very survival of our species, we must remember our power to take action.

We won’t pretend it’s the only thing you can or should do, but one small step is to pitch in to support Truthout — as one of the last remaining truly independent, nonprofit, reader-funded news platforms, your gift will help keep the facts flowing freely.