Sen. Kevin Bacon, who chairs the Ohio Senate Judiciary Committee, stood up for the Constitution today when he reversed the panel’s selective ban on videotaping committee hearings.
Just last week, ProgressOhio was ordered to stop videotaping a hearing on Senate Bill 145 – the latest proposed abortion ban – while the anti-choice group Created Equal was permitted to video the hearing. ProgressOhio opposes the bill, while Senator Bacon and Created Equal support it.
ProgressOhio attended this week’s hearing on the same bill to document the unequal treatment , hoping to get the evidence needed to challenge the ban in court if necessary. But Sen. Bacon announced that he would allow all interested parties to video, as long as they are not disrupting the committee proceedings. ProgressOhio was able to record the hearings.
About an hour later, however, the committee cast a party-line vote in favor of a clearly unconstitutional bill to ban a safe, common, abortion procedure known as a dilation and evacuation.
Lauren Boc, on behalf of Physicians for Reproductive Health, explained the group’s opposition to the bill:
“By outlawing the standard D&E abortion procedure, this bill prevents Ohio physicians from providing individualized care based on each patient’s unique needs and circumstances, a cornerstone of the patient-provider relationship,’’ Boc testified. “Every pregnancy, and every patient, is different; for many people, the alternatives to a standard D&E abortion are more medically complex, and can increase risks and side effects.’’
Gary Daniels of the ACLU of Ohio told the committee that seven states have passed similar bans and legal challenges have been filed in five of them. Courts have stepped in to force three states to not enforce the bans and another state voluntarily halted enforcement while its legal challenge proceeds.
“In other words, lawsuits challenging these bans have a current 100% track record of success,’’ Daniels said.
“D&E bans are essentially bans on all second-trimester abortions,’’ Daniels testified, “complying with D&E bans involve intrusive and risky procedures, and the burden places of women and clinics renders these laws unconstitutional.’’
You can read all the testimony for and against the bill here.