Washington, DC -- The Ohio General Assembly today passed a bill that would block access to care at Planned Parenthood health centers for thousands of Ohioans. Kasich haspledged to sign the measure, despite protests from Ohioans across the state, objections ofpublic health experts, and a call to veto from theNew York Times Editorial Board. Notably, Kasich has a long track record of advancing an extremist, anti-abortion agenda and has signed17 anti-women’s health measures. Kasich now has ten days to sign or veto the bill.
Statement from Cecile Richards, President of Planned Parenthood Action Fund:
“Under Governor Kasich, Ohio has passed 17 restrictions on women’s health, closing nearly half the abortion providers in the state. We’ve seen the dire consequences for women, men and young people when politicians block access to care at Planned Parenthood health centers. In Indiana it was followed by anHIV epidemic; in Texas it led to tens of thousands of women not getting care. It’s time for political games to end – and for Governor Kasich to veto this bill so Ohioans don’t lose vital care.”
Statement from Stephanie Kight, President and CEO of Planned Parenthood Advocates of Ohio:
“Today, the Ohio General Assembly, once again, chose politics over people. This reckless bill would block access to care for women, men and young people who need it the most. Ohioans from across the state have been organizing for months and calling on Kasich to protect access to care at Planned Parenthood. Kasich must listen to his constituents and veto this bill.”
This bill comes mere weeks after a Houston grand jury indicted the makers of the discredited smear campaign videos and cleared Planned Parenthood of any wrongdoing, following officials in twelve other states, including in Ohio.
Ohio politicians passed this bill only days after the New England Journal of Medicine published groundbreaking new research showing the devastating consequences for women after politicians blocked access to care at Planned Parenthood health centers in Texas.
If it becomes law, this bill would target Planned Parenthood programs that, in the last year, provided over 47,000 STD tests, more than 3,600 HIV tests, and served nearly 2,800 new or expectant mothers through “Healthy Moms, Healthy Babies” – a program that aims to prevent infant mortality, given Ohio has the thirdhighest infant mortality rate for African Americans in the nation. The bill would also block access to lifesaving cancer screenings, domestic violence education through the Violence Against Women Act, and much-needed sex education for youth in foster care and the juvenile detention system. Public health departments have also raised major concerns with this bill.
“If Planned Parenthood goes away as a provider, there will be a void of services in our community, and we don’t have the capacity to fill that void,” said Kelli Arthur Hykes, the health policy director for the department of health in Columbus. Yet politicians have claimed that Planned Parenthood patients can go to food banks and dentists for STD and HIV tests. Without Planned Parenthood, many patients would have nowhere else to turn for essential, preventive health care.