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California Bans State-Paid Travel To Ohio Over New Medical Law That Could Have Implications For LGBTQ Community


California is going to restrict state-funded travel to Ohio starting Thursday because of a new Ohio law that allows doctors to deny medical care based on personal beliefs.

The state budget includes a “medical conscience” clause allowing health care workers to deny treatments they feel violate their beliefs. After he signed the budget, I asked Gov. Mike DeWine whether he was afraid the new law would discriminate against LGBTQ Ohioans.

“People are not going to be discriminated against in regard to medical care. We have a vibrant medical care system in the state of Ohio,” DeWine said.

But advocates for Ohio's LGBTQ community strongly disagree. And the state of California is now joining them, making Ohio the 18th state to which California will no longer allow state-funded travel.

This provision was slipped into the two-year state budget. Some medical associations came out against it at the time. But DeWine insisted it only codified a policy that was already in wide usage that allowed doctors to avoid doing something they philosophically oppose by delegating care to another physician. Unlike most legislation, lawmakers did not have hearings on it so doctors who may have shown up to testify against it didn't get that opportunity.

In recent months, Ohio has been spending millions, advertising widely to young entrepreneurs in the Golden State and others to try to get them to relocate here. It’s unclear what effect, if any, this new law will have on that effort.

Meanwhile, the Center for Christian Virtue in Ohio, issued a press release, praising California's reaction to the bill. In it, CCV President Aaron Baer accused California Attorney General Rob Bonta of "lying" and "fear-mongering." But Baer says, "no matter the reason, I think most Ohioans would agree it’s a net gain for our state for California bureaucrats to stay put. And the less of their radical progressive ideology that comes into our state, the better!"
Copyright 2021 The Statehouse News Bureau. To see more, visit The Statehouse News Bureau.

Jo Ingles is a professional journalist who covers politics and Ohio government for the Ohio Public Radio and Television for the Ohio Public Radio and Television Statehouse News Bureau. She reports on issues of importance to Ohioans including education, legislation, politics, and life and death issues such as capital punishment.