Today a federal district court issued a temporary restraining order to protect access to health care and education for tens of thousands of Ohioans, including 70,000 free STD & HIV tests, cancer screenings, and Planned Parenthood’s Healthy Moms, Healthy Babies program. The law remains blocked until June 6 while the court considers Planned Parenthood’s request for a preliminary injunction.
This win comes three months after Governor John Kasich signed a sweeping law that bars Planned Parenthood health centers from providing care and educational services through several public programs — which, in turn, would have an outsized impact on people with low incomes, communities of color, and other groups that have historically faced systemic barriers in accessing quality health care. On May 11, Planned Parenthood filed suit against the law to fight for the right of Ohioans to access critical services.
“We applaud the court’s decision to protect access to health care and education at Planned Parenthood. State lawmakers around the country have been waging a political war on preventive care at Planned Parenthood, putting people’s health and lives at risk in the process. Since July, politicians in 24 states have tried to strip women of basic health care, and in Ohio, they were just stopped in their tracks. Yet litigation alone cannot combat the tidal wave of attacks we’ve seen in recent months. It shouldn’t take a lawsuit to protect birth control and cancer screenings for our patients – but we’ll keep fighting for them across the country.”
—Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America
In the order, Judge Michael R. Barrett recognized Plaintiffs’ arguments that, if enforced, the law would be “depriving thousands of Ohioans of high-quality, affordable health care services and education programs.” He pointed to how Planned Parenthood affiliates “conduct approximately 50 percent of the STD tests in the state of Ohio each year” and how “officials in Canton have reported that they have not been able to locate a replacement for PPGOH under this [HIV Prevention Program].”
“This ruling is a victory for the tens of thousands of Ohioans that rely on Planned Parenthood for care each year. Our state legislators want to ban abortion across the board, and they were willing to decimate access to preventive care in the process. But this isn’t about politics for our patients, it’s about their health and their lives. If you have a lump in your breast or need an HIV test, lawmakers should be making it easier, not harder, to get the care you need.”
—Jerry Lawson, CEO, Planned Parenthood Southwest Ohio
The victory comes as Planned Parenthood fights to protect and expand access to care across the country in 15 lawsuits the nonprofit has filed since July. Since then, politicians in at least 24 states have threatened care at Planned Parenthood health centers. According to the Congressional Budget Office, up to 650,000 people would face decreased access to health care in just a one-year period if patients who rely on public health programs are blocked from coming to Planned Parenthood.
“Today, the courts rejected Governor Kasich and Ohio Legislators’ attack on people who already have the least access to care. They attempted to block Planned Parenthood patients from care, all in the name of politics. Politicians had gone as far as to claim women can get cancer screenings at food banks. The court just called their bluff. Politicians have no business restricting women’s health, and today, the court agreed.”
—Iris E. Harvey, President and CEO, Planned Parenthood of Greater Ohio
The lawsuit was filed earlier this month by WilmerHale, as well as the Cincinnati-based firm Gerhardstein & Branch and lawyers from PPFA.