The Ohio state House yesterday voted to defund Planned Parenthood in the state, only weeks after the state Senate passed a similar bill. Legislators must now decide which bill to advance.
In a 62-33 vote mostly party line vote—with all Republicans voting ‘yes’ and all Democrats except for one voting ‘no’—the House passed legislation that would redirect Ohio Department of Health grant money from healthcare providers that perform abortions.
In the most recent fiscal year, the state provided approximately $1.3 million to 28 Planned Parenthood clinics, excluding $2.4 million in Medicaid reimbursements. While the bills passed by the House and Senate do not affect the Medicaid reimbursement, the $1.3 million it eliminates will hamper Planned Parenthood’s ability to provide a variety of services, including sexually transmitted disease testing, programs to prevent infant mortality, and breast cancer screenings.
Only 3 of the state’s 28 Planned Parenthood clinics perform abortions, and none of the state-administered grant funding goes to these services.
“Testimony given by people all around our state—from Planned Parenthood staff to community partners—demonstrated that women and men rely on Planned Parenthood. Their stories and experiences directly contradict what is being said by the legislators who support this bill,” said Stephanie Kight, President and CEO of Planned Parenthood Advocates of Ohio. “Their blatant disregard for the truth and the well-being of Ohioans is shameful. They are willing to disrupt community programs that help some of our most vulnerable citizens, all to score cheap political points. These are not the leaders that the people of our state deserve.”
The Ohio bills are the latest in a series of anti-family planning and women’s health measures introduced by Republican lawmakers to eliminate funding to Planned Parenthood following the release of a series of surreptitiously obtained and heavily edited videos by the Center for Medical Progress. Despite no evidence that there is any truth to the videos’ claims that Planned Parenthood is illegally selling fetal tissue, Republicans in several states have insisted on eliminating funding that enables millions of women, especially low-income women, to access health care.
Media Resources: The Columbus Dispatch 10/21/15; Cleveland.com 11/18/15, 11/16/15; Planned Parenthood Advocates of Ohio Press Release 11/17/15; Feminist Newswire 9/8/15