November 19, 2015 — The Ohio House on Tuesday voted 62-33 to advance legislation (HB 294) that would defund Planned Parenthood clinics in the state, the AP/San Francisco Chronicle reports (Sanner, AP/San Francisco Chronicle, 11/17).
The Ohio Senate in October voted 23-10 to advance companion legislation (SB 214) (Women's Health Policy Report, 10/22).
State lawmakers are seeking to defund Planned Parenthood following a series of videos targeting Planned Parenthood released by an antiabortion-rights group called the Center for Medical Progress. CMP secretly filmed the videos by meeting with Planned Parenthood staff while posing as buyers of fetal tissue. Planned Parenthood has stated that the videos were heavily edited and that the filmed officials did not conduct any illegal activities.
In September, Planned Parenthood Federation of America announced that it no longer would accept reimbursements for the cost of its fetal tissue donation program. Further, according to a Planned Parenthood official in the state, the organization does not participate in a fetal donation program in Ohio. Planned Parenthood of Greater Ohio has 28 clinics in the state, including three facilities that provide abortion care. Overall, PPGO serves about 80,000 patients.
The Ohio bill would cut $1 million in public funding for Planned Parenthood. Specifically, under the bill, organizations that provide or advocate for abortion care, are affiliated with organizations that provide or advocate for abortion care, or have contracts with organizations that provide abortion care would not be eligible to receive the funding.
The state Department of Health distributes grants to programs for federal- and state-funded breast and cervical cancer screenings, HIV testing and programs on infant mortality. The "overall amount" of funding would remain intact under the bill, but it would be redirected to other entities (Women's Health Policy Report, 10/22).
State legislative leaders now must decide whether to advance the House or Senate version of the bill.
Meanwhile, PPGO CEO Stephanie Kight blasted lawmakers who supported the bill, saying, "They are willing to disrupt community programs that help some of our most vulnerable citizens, all to score cheap political points" (AP/San Francisco Chronicle, 11/17).