Ohio Proposal Could Jeopardize Access to Family Planning Services

April 24, 2012 — Supporters of an Ohio proposal that could cut $1.7 million in public family planning funding to Planned Parenthood say it will not reduce the availability of the services, but the ability of other health care providers to step in is unclear, the Columbus Dispatch reports.

Last week, conservative lawmakers added the proposal as an amendment to a mid-biennium budget measure drafted by Gov. John Kasich (R) (Candisky/Conley, Columbus Dispatch, 4/22). The proposal would reprioritize the distribution of federal family planning funds, giving priority to local public health departments, followed by community health centers that meet federal requirements, then private primary care centers and lastly, Planned Parenthood and other independent family planning centers (Women's Health Policy Report, 4/19).

Ohio Right to Life has been advocating for the measure as part of a national effort to defund Planned Parenthood. Federal law already prohibits the use of federal taxpayer dollars for abortion services.

Supporters of the proposal contend that women can obtain the services at the state's 340 community health centers and clinics. However, not all of the centers provide comprehensive women's health services, according to the Dispatch.

Access to the services through community health centers could largely depend on where a woman lives. Randy Runyon, president and CEO of the Ohio Association of Community Health Centers, said some facilities are at capacity and cannot take on additional patients right now (Columbus Dispatch, 4/22).