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Government and Politics

Counselors can't give abortion advice to rape victims
A provision in the state budget funds rape crisis centers but prohibits counselors from referring rape survivors to abortion clinics

Karen Kasler
In The Region:

Democrats have blasted abortion-related measures in the state budget, and are also taking aim at a provision that they say puts a gag order on counselors at rape crisis centers. But Statehouse correspondent Karen Kasler reports Republicans are now fighting back.

LISTEN: Kasler on rape crisis centers

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The language in the budget is identical to a bill that passed the House last month – creating dedicated funding for rape crisis centers but instructing counselors that they could not refer survivors to abortion providers. Gov. John Kasich’s spokesman Rob Nichols says Democrats knew that provision would be in the budget.

 “Then later, two weeks later, waging war against us for the very language that they themselves supported.”

 Democrats such as Rep. Nickie Antonio of Lakewood did know this – and weren’t happy about it when they supported the bill on the House floor.

 “I’m disappointed that we’ve put some restrictions on the experts.”

Ohio Democratic Party spokesman Jerid Kurtz says Democrats thought that the so-called gag on counselors would be removed.

 “However, it wasn’t, and that’s a problem, and that’s a problem that goes back to the Governor and the Governor’s allies.”

 The Ohio Alliance to End Sexual Violence has praised the inclusion of the funding for rape crisis centers on the budget – but hasn’t made any statements on the restrictions.

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