COLUMBUS -- The outcry from Planned Parenthood and like-minded advocates was expected following Gov. John Kasich's signing of the $62 billion state budget and the controversial abortion-related law changes contained therein.
In the days that followed, the groups have become even more vocal, saying that requiring a doctor to check for a fetal heartbeat and provide extra information to women seeking abortions is unnecessary, and blocking funding for Planned Parenthood will deprive women of needed health screenings.
Again, that was all to be expected, particularly given the abortion restrictions implemented at the last minute as amendments to a budget bill.
But Kasich and GOP lawmakers aren't just getting flack from the left side of the political aisle on the issue. Turns out some abortion opponents aren't happy about the heartbeat provisions, in particular.
"It won't legally protect a single life," said Janet Porter, president of Faith2Action and vocal proponent of last session's Heartbeat Bill, which would have banned abortions within weeks of conception, as soon as a fetal heartbeat was detected.
Porter isn't necessarily opposed to ultrasound requirements, which may convince some women considering abortions not to go through with the procedure.
But she's adamant in her disgust of Republican lawmakers who say they're pro-life but who won't move on a more strict prohibition.
Last year, Porter and supporters vowed to campaign against "RINOs" -- that is, Republicans in Name Only -- who failed to move on the Heartbeat Bill. They toned down the rhetoric after receiving what they described as behind-the-scenes assurances of post-election action on the legislation, only to be let down again when the Republican Senate president blocked a floor vote late last year.
Porter is voicing similar plans now, saying her group will find election challengers for GOP members who don't support the Heartbeat Bill and will actively campaign against them.
"They ran not to regulate abortion," she said. "They ran with pro-life promises to end abortion. ... If they don't pass it this year, there will be some activity in the primaries to make some replacements."
Not all abortion opponents are on the same page as Porter. Ohio Right to Life hailed the "historic passage" of the biennial budget and the abortion amendments it included.
"Low-income pregnant women will now receive greater care and their unborn child will have a much greater opportunity to be born healthy," Mike Gonidakis, president of Ohio Right to Life, said in a released statement. "It took great compassion and courage for our governor and pro-life legislature to stand up to the abortion industry that blatantly pressured them."
He added, "For all their bluster about equality among the genders, Democrats have a policy of inequality towards women. If you're a woman living outside the womb you're respected and cherished but if you're a woman living inside the womb not only do they threaten your life, they pretend you don't exist."
But Porter points to other states, notably Arkansas and North Dakota, that have already moved on heartbeat legislation. Kansas is considering comparable law changes.
Porter said she expects a new Heartbeat Bill to be introduced in the Ohio legislature soon.
"We're not going to believe empty promises any longer," Porter said. " ... I think that the Senate needs to act, and if they don't, we will."
Marc Kovac is the Dix Capital Bureau Chief. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at OhioCapitalBlog.