Women in Ohio didn’t see this coming. The state’s new two-year budget, approved by Governor John Kasich on June 30, includes several breathtaking restrictions on abortion and reproductive health clinics, and stands to strip funding from many rape crisis centers if they don’t comply with gag orders. And it passed so quickly that many Ohioans only found out about the anti-choice measures after they had taken effect. Now, the pro-choice voters of Ohio find themselves facing a worst-case scenario: trying to pick up the pieces and regain their rights before too many women are hurt or killed by laws they didn’t have time to fight.
The abortion provisions were added to the budget on June 25, after only a week or two of discussion, and were passed into law five days later, giving media outlets and protestors less than a week to raise awareness or opposition. This is not to say there was no opposition before the budget’s passage—only that it wasn’t widespread enough, or quick enough, to have a real effect. Doctors spoke at the Ohio Statehouse, calling the provisions dangerous and unethical. But there weren’t enough of them, or enough people willing to take them seriously, and so it didn’t matter.