Columbus — Physicians would be allowed to share whatever information they feel medically necessary with their patients without fear of criminal charges, under legislation being introduced in the Ohio House.
Rep. Kathleen Clyde (D-Kent) said her Doctor-Patient Protection Bill would reverse mandates instituted by the Republican-controlled legislature requiring doctors to check for fetal heartbeats and provide certain disclosures to women seeking abortions.
“It would just protect the doctor-patient relationship from infringement by the legislature,” Clyde said. “You couldn’t pursue the criminal prosecution and findings of legal liability if a doctor does what a doctor is trained and supposed to do — provide medically accurate information that comports with their code of medical ethics.”
As part of the last biennial budget bill, Republican lawmakers passed and Gov. John Kasich signed into law new restrictions on abortions, including a requirement that doctors conduct an external check for a fetal heartbeat.
Clyde and other Democratic lawmakers have been vocal critics of the provision and other abortion-related law changes, which they say are making it more difficult for doctors to provide needed medical information to their patients.
Clyde’s new legislation would apply to men and women, though it was prompted by laws passed in Ohio and other states related to women’s health issues.
“In the past three years, at statehouses across the country, politicians have enacted more 200 bills about women’s health care,” Clyde said. “Those bills focus on what we can and cannot do about a pregnancy and what decisions we can and cannot make about our own health care and our own bodies.”
She added, “It’s time to get politics out of our exam rooms.”
Michael Gonidakis, president of Ohio Right to Life, called Clyde’s press conference June 12 “nothing more than a publicity stunt to pander to the abortion crowd within her political party.”
He added in a released statement, “Why do pro-choice politicians want to keep Ohio’s women in the dark about their babies and all of their health and legal options? If Rep. Clyde had it her way, there would be no laws protecting patients in the state of Ohio and she would prefer a ‘wild west’ approach where doctors can do whatever they want and are unaccountable to the public. Fortunately for the rest of us, her extreme views are in the vast minority. ... We welcome Rep. Clyde to the table when she is ready to have a serious and compassionate conversation about the health and safety of Ohio’s women and their babies.”
Marc Kovac is the Dix Capital Bureau Chief. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at OhioCapitalBlog.