Home Social Justice Ohio Senate passes bill to defund Planned Parenthood

Ohio Senate passes bill to defund Planned Parenthood

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A bill stripping $1.3 million from Planned Parenthood’s prevention and health education programs cleared the Ohio Senate in a 22-8 vote last week.

House Bill 294, sponsored by Reps. Margaret Conditt, R-Liberty Township, and Bill Patmon, D-Cleveland, would ensure that state and federal funds are not used to perform or promote abortions that are not medically necessary and block funding for contracting or affiliating with any abortion providers. Several federally funded initiatives at Planned Parenthood would also be defunded.

Last year, Planned Parenthood of Greater Ohio received $1.3 million in state and federal funds for programs providing preventative health care services, such as breast and cervical cancer screenings, STI/STD testing and treatment, HIV testing and education programs funded through the Violence Against Women Act.

“Many of these programs are utilized by Ohioans in underserved areas, who will now be left with nowhere else to turn,” Planned Parenthood spokeswoman Jocelyn Smallwood wrote in an email. “It is irresponsible, to say the least, to defund these programs in the name of baseless-political rhetoric.”

According to Smallwood, the funds that are being cut are geared entirely toward preventative health care and not abortion.

“Planned Parenthood will continue to keep its doors open and provide reproductive healthcare, including abortion, to as many Ohioans for as long as we are able,” she said.

If the Ohio House of Representatives agrees to the amended bill at the Feb. 9 meeting, it will be sent to Gov. John Kasich. Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton released a statement last Wednesday urging Gov. Kasich to veto the bill.

“During his time in office, Gov. Kasich has repeatedly attacked reproductive health and rights, signing 16 laws that have made it increasingly difficult for women to access vital reproductive health care and significantly decreased the number of health centers that provide access to safe and legal abortion,” Clinton said. “It’s time for Gov. Kasich to put the health and well-being of his constituents ahead of his own political ambitions and veto this bill to defund Planned Parenthood — a trusted health-care provider and lifeline for thousands of women, men and young people in Ohio.”

The 16 laws that Gov. Kasich has signed in the past five years include the 2013 two-year state budget that blocks funding for Planned Parenthood and prohibits rape crisis counselors from giving survivors information about abortion. In 2011, Kasich signed a bill banning abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy.

Of the 21 Planned Parenthood health centers in Ohio, two clinics located in Columbus and Bedford Heights provide abortions. According to its annual report, 2 percent of 56,939 patients treated in 2014 received abortion care, which is about 1139 cases.

Source: Ohio Department of Health
Source: Ohio Department of Health

Ohio has seen a 25 percent decrease in induced abortions from 2011, when Kasich entered office, to 2014. The reported 21,186 abortions in 2014 were the lowest since Ohio Department of Health started collecting statistics in 1976.

According to the pro-abortion advocacy group Guttmacher Institute, in 2011 there were 26 abortion providers in Ohio, and 91 percent of Ohio counties did not have abortion clinics. As of 2015, nine abortion providers are still running in Ohio amid the restrictions lawmakers placed on abortion.

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