Oh Ohio, you are so Tennessee.
In the latest state to come for the LGBTQ+ community and our access to healthcare access, Ohio will now allow medical providers to refuse to administer any medical treatment that violates their moral, ethical, or religious beliefs.
In other words, they will not offer healthcare to any of us because of their warped belief in God.
Even more troubling, is how the politicians in Ohio snuck this new bit of hate into a 700-page document of last-minute amendments to the state’s two-year budget bill, which Ohio Governor, and Republican because of course, Mike DeWine approved last week.
Even more frightening, is that this new provision allows anyone providing medical care—from doctors and nurses to researchers and lab techs–and anyone paying for that care—like your insurance provider—the “freedom” to decline, well, actually refuse, to perform, participate in, or pay for any health care service which violates “the practitioner’s, the institution’s, or the payer’s conscience as informed by the moral, ethical, or religious beliefs.”
Funny how they can so easily toss around the word ‘conscience’ when refusing medical help to a member of the LGBTQ+ community.
So, they just need to say God, and they can turn away a member of the LGBTQ+ community from getting the healthcare they need, or the insurance payments they need to cover their healthcare expenses.
Governor Mike DeWine could have struck that hate-filled anti-LGBTQ+ language while signing the rest of the budget into law but declined to do so—even though he issued 14 other line-item vetoes—because … bigot … hater … homophobe … Bible thumping asshat. And as bigots do, they try to hide their bigotry as best they can, as evidenced by DeWine actually having the nerve to say that this provision won’t change the standard of care in Ohio.
Except it does if you’re LGBTQ+.
DeWine seems to think that if you go to a doctor who is a God-fearing homophobe, that doctor will deny you service, but will refer you to someone else; if a lab gets your tests results—say for HIV—they won’t process them because God Hates Fags, but they’ll pass your tests along to someone else.
It all sounds so nice, except, even if the someone in the medical profession does attempt to make that referral, a quarter of Ohio’s population lives in rural counties, where LGBTQ-friendly medical care is sparse; so good luck getting health care if you’re LGBTQ+.
Ohio doesn’t care about the LGBTQ+ population.
Mike DeWine doesn’t care about the LGBTQ+ population.
The GOP buried this hate in the bowels of some 700-page list of bills because they don’t care about the LGBTQ+ population.
It’s time for the LGBTQ+ community, allies of the LGBTQ+ community, and anyone who believes that any kid of hate is wrong, to one by one, person by person, office by office, remove these bigots from positions of power.
You see, as it is happening in Ohio, right now there are more than 250 anti-LGBTQ+ bills introduced in state legislatures in 2021, breaking the previous “record” in 2015.
We have fought for the right to work, to live to breathe, to marry, to adopt, and still the Republican party comes for us in any way they cane.
The fight is not over; the march goes on.
And lastly … fuck you, Ohio.