COLUMBUS, Ohio — California is banning all state-funded travel to Ohio because of a clause that was passed in the state budget, which would allow medical professionals to refuse treatment if doing so would violate their personal moral or religious beliefs.
Advocates believe this could lead to LGBTQ+ Ohioans not receiving fair or equal treatment.
"This amendment sought to open the door for doctors, nurses, receptionists, and even health insurance companies to discriminate against LGBTQ+ people and deny them important healthcare services," Equality Ohio, an advocacy group that focuses on equal opportunity for Ohioans, wrote in June.
According to the Ohio Capital Journal, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine said the clause puts in writing what already happens in Ohio medical facilities. He claimed this would not lead to discrimination because, if the clause was invoked, someone who is LGBTQ+ could get care elsewhere, the OCJ wrote.
California Attorney General Rob Bonta announced that, starting Sept. 30, all state-funded travel to Ohio is banned because of the clause.
“Blocking access to life-saving care is wrong,” Bonta said in a press release. “Period. Whether it’s denying a prescription for medication that prevents the spread of HIV, refusing to provide gender-affirming care, or undermining a woman’s right to choose, HB 110 unnecessarily puts the health of Americans at risk."
Bonta also said the new travel ban is required by a California bill passed in 2016.
California is banning state-funded travel to 17 other states over anti-LGBTQ+ legislation: Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Mississippi, Montana, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, and West Virginia.