Defunding Bill Targets Planned Parenthood’s Basic Preventive Care
Washington, DC -- Today, the Ohio State Senate voted to eliminate funding that allows Planned Parenthood to provide thousands of Ohioans with essential reproductive health care services like birth control, infant mortality prevention care, youth education, STI testing, confidential HIV/AIDS programs, and lifesaving cancer screenings. This vote comes the morning after more than 400 women and men from across Ohio rallied at the Statehouse in Columbus to stand with Planned Parenthood.
This bill passed out of a Committee that suppressed the voices of women's health advocates who tried to speak against the bill. It now moves to the Ohio House of Representatives. This legislation is part of Governor John Kasich’s extreme anti-abortion agenda in Ohio that is blocking women, men, and young people from accessing health care at Planned Parenthood health centers and other providers across the state.
Statement from Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood Action Fund:
“Planned Parenthood is the trusted health care provider for 80,000 women, men and young people in Ohio -- and this bill threatens the basic preventive care they rely on. Anyone who’s paid attention to Kasich’s record won’t be surprised at his zealous cuts for basic services like HIV testing and education or breast and cervical cancer screenings that women across Ohio rely on. Kasich is extreme on women’s health issues and has used every tool at his disposal to ban abortion and roll back women’s access to reproductive health care.”
Along with targeting funding for STI testing, education services designed to increase access to critical HIV/AIDS care, and breast and cervical cancer screening programs, this bill also threatens funding for the “Healthy Moms, Healthy Babies” program that aims to prevent infant mortality -- despite the fact that Ohio has one of the highest infant mortality rates in the nation.
Statement from Stephanie Kight, President and CEO of Planned Parenthood Advocates of Ohio:
“Ohioans support Planned Parenthood. This revolting attempt on the part of the Ohio General Assembly to pass laws that blatantly harm women, men, and their families, especially those in underserved areas, is unforgivable. The fact that Ohio lawmakers are making this attempt when the majority of the people in this state have made it clear that they oppose defunding is even worse. We will continue to be a voice for the thousands of women and men who turn to us each day. We aren’t going anywhere.”
This bill represents an extreme anti-abortion agenda that has been led by Governor Kasich since he took office. Through budget provisions and legislation, John Kasich has signed 16 anti-women’s health measures that have made it increasingly difficult to access reproductive health care and has significantly decreased the number of health centers that provide abortions.
Kasich signed into law a 20-week abortion ban making it more difficult for Ohio women to seek abortion services.
He passed a budget that included cuts to Planned Parenthood funding, putting at risk the thousands of women who live in medically underserved counties in Ohio.
He supported a budget provision that blocked grant money for state-funded rape crisis centers that refer women for abortion.
He signed into law a prohibition on transfer agreements between abortion providers and public hospitals despite the requirement that all abortion providers have a transfer agreement.
This past year alone, the programs targeted in this bill helped Planned Parenthood health centers in Ohio provide over 47,000 STI tests and over 3,600 HIV tests, serve nearly 2,800 individuals through the “Healthy Moms, Healthy Babies” infant mortality prevention program, and provide over 600 youth in the juvenile and foster care systems with educational services and comprehensive sexuality education.
If these Planned Parenthood programs are cut, there are not enough providers in Ohio poised to accommodate their patients. Of the 28 Planned Parenthood health centers in Ohio, 26 of them are in rural or medically underserved areas, meaning that without Planned Parenthood, many patients would literally have nowhere else to turn for essential, preventive reproductive health care.