FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 12, 2021
Contact: Erin Ryan, email@example.com, (440) 382-2900
As the state legislative session picks up, WPPN reflects on the final state budget and looks towards future progress for women and families
COLUMBUS, OH – Today, the Ohio Women’s Public Policy Network (WPPN) promoted the release of a report that details the impact of the enacted state operating budget on Ohio women and their families.
The report comes at a time when the regular legislative activity is picking up in the Statehouse as lawmakers return from summer recess to carry out the remainder of the first half of the 134th General Assembly. The WPPN draws attention to the progress that this legislative body made through their budget efforts, while also calling on future attention and action for women and their families.
“Every Ohioan, whether Black, brown, or white, deserves the ability to lead economically secure, safe, and healthy lives. Our state legislature took important action within the state operating budget to move the needle forward on progress for women and their families,” said Elizabeth Brown, Executive Director of the Ohio Women’s Public Policy Network. “But, as we look towards the remainder of the legislative session, there is unfinished work from the budget process that our state lawmakers must prioritize.”
The key goals outlined by the group within their report are crucial to the lives and futures of Ohio women, families, and communities. The newly released analysis provides an in-depth overview of the final status of these policy priorities within the enacted state budget; categorizing them by positive action, negative action, maintained/protected, and missed opportunities. The report includes:
Increased eligibility for publicly funded child care: The final version of the budget included an increase of the eligibility for public child care from 130% of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL) to 142% of the FPL and 150% of the FPL for children with disabilities. Advocates, including WPPN, called for an increase to 200% of the FPL.
Extended postpartum coverage for Medicaid recipients: The budget includes an extension of postpartum Medicaid coverage for pregnant women from 60 days after giving birth to 12-months postpartum. This will promote stronger health outcomes for new mothers.
Increased investments for programs/services addressing domestic violence and sexual violence: The final version of the budget increased Rape Crisis Centers funding to $10 million per fiscal year ($20 million total) and increased funding for Domestic Violence Program to $5 million for FY 2022 and $2.5 million for FY 2023 ($7.5 million total).
Funded diverted to anti-abortion Crisis Pregnancy Centers (CPC): Throughout the stages of the budget, lawmakers allocated funding to so-called Crisis Pregnancy Centers, with the final budget allocating a total of $6 million to CPCs. These anti-abortion facilities are typically religiously affiliated, which have been established throughout the country to counsel pregnant people out of seeking abortion care. They have a history of providing misleading, false, and medically inaccurate information about abortion to pregnant people seeking information about their options. Research has shown that there has been a decrease in the overall amount of prenatal care in pregnant people who consult with a CPC early in pregnancy.
Medical practitioner “conscience clause” provision included: During Conference Committee, members added a provision to the budget that allows medical practitioners the ability to refuse care to a patient if they object to the medical treatment, regardless of harm to the patient (includes gender-affirming care, contraception, fertility treatments, and abortion care).
Failed to include a provision in Medicaid to strengthen maternal and infant health outcomes, particularly for Black women and women of color: The budget did not include a provision to allow for Medicaid and private insurance coverage of doula and midwife services. Doula services have been proven to provide resources that effectively address both infant mortality and mother morbidity, especially for Black mothers and mothers of color.
Failed to strengthen the state Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC): The budget did not include a provision to add a refundable option to the state EITC at 10% of the federal EITC. This is the most effective change to the state EITC to address current shortfalls in the policy.
The Women’s Public Policy Network and their coalition partners played an active role in advocating for these priorities on behalf of women and their families throughout the budget process. They will continue their advocacy in efforts to have the legislature advance the missed opportunities from their report during the regular legislative session.
Along with the analysis, the group released a status report on the work ahead for the General Assembly, building off of the missed opportunities that lawmakers failed to act upon during the state budget. Both reports can be accessed online at: www.womenspublicpolicynetwork.
The Ohio Women’s Public Policy Network is a coalition unlike any other group in the state. Formed in 2015 as a project of the Innovation Ohio Education Fund, the Women’s Public Policy Network brings together nearly 40 organizations to collaboratively advance public policies that build economic opportunity for women and their families. For more information, visit our website at www.womenspublicpolicynetwork.