Ohio Republicans are considering a bill that would incentivize donations to anti-abortion facilities, just a week after residents voted to protect abortion rights in the state Constitution.
The state Senate Finance Committee discussed a Republican bill on Tuesday that would give tax credits to people who donate to “qualifying pregnancy resource centers.” There are more than 175 such facilities in Ohio, although only donations to nonprofit centers would qualify for the tax credit. The bill proposes Ohio credit a total of up to $10 million.
Pregnancy resource centers, also called crisis pregnancy centers, are run by anti-abortion activists with the intention of convincing people not to get an abortion. The centers, which are often faith-based, do provide some resources for pregnant people. But they don’t provide a full range of reproductive health care and are instead meant to “scare, shame, or pressure” patients out of getting an abortion. They also often spread harmful misinformation, such as saying that the abortion pill is reversible.
There are more than 2,500 crisis pregnancy centers in the U.S., according to the Crisis Pregnancy Center Map, an organization that works to share accurate information about the fake clinics. Crisis pregnancy centers outnumber actual abortion facilities by nearly three to one.
The Ohio bill comes a week after residents voted overwhelmingly to enshrine abortion rights in the state Constitution. The bill would make it appealing to donate to anti-abortion facilities and could drown out pro-abortion donations. This could render the amendment moot: Protecting reproductive rights doesn’t mean anything if Ohioans can’t access the proper care.
Since their landslide loss last week, Republicans seem to be working overtime to circumvent democracy. This week’s bill is their second attempt post vote to overthrow the will of the people. Just two days after the election, a group of Republican state representatives proposed blocking the courts from implementing the amendment.
And that’s not even taking into account everything Republicans did to try to stop the vote from happening at all. In August, they tried to raise the threshold for constitutional amendments to a 60 percent vote instead of a simple majority.
When that failed, the Ohio Ballot Board voted 3–2, along party lines, to change the text of the amendment on the ballot to a Republican-authored summary littered with inflammatory and fearmongering language.