May 18, 2012 — Ohio House Republicans on Wednesday restarted efforts to block federal family planning funds to Planned Parenthood by hearing testimony on a bill (HB 298) that would redirect the money to community health clinics, the Columbus Dispatch reports. The state Finance Committee removed a similar measure from a budget proposal last month.
Eight witnesses -- seven supporters of the bill and one opponent -- spoke about the bill, which would reprioritize the distribution of federal family planning money. The measure would place Planned Parenthood at the bottom of the list for receiving funds, potentially cutting off about $1.7 million in funding for preventive services, such as contraception and cancer screenings.
The funding cut likely would raise out-of-pocket costs for patients who currently pay on an income-based scale (Candisky, Columbus Dispatch, 5/17). Beth Lonn, interim CEO of Planned Parenthood of Central Ohio, said the bill "won't change the services we provide, [but] what it will do is hurt the women who come to us for services" (WBNS, 5/16).
Prospects for Bill
Committee Chair Lynn Wachtmann (R) was criticized for not allowing more opponents of the bill to speak at the meeting. He said at least one other hearing will be held, although he expressed doubts that lawmakers would approve the bill before the session ends later this month.
Watchmann hopes to offer a substitute bill that would block other federal funds from going to Planned Parenthood, including money for infertility prevention, cancer screenings and other health care services (Columbus Dispatch, 5/17).