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Ohio Senate Passes Bill To Defund Planned Parenthood

January 29, 2016 — The Ohio Senate on Wednesday voted 22-8 to approve legislation (HB 294) that would defund Planned Parenthood clinics in the state, theAP/Sacramento Bee reports.

The state House has to approve changes made to the measure before it proceeds to Gov. John Kasich (R). State House Speaker Cliff Rosenberger (R) said he expects the chamber to sign off on the bill in February.

Background

In 2015, the state House and Senate (SB 214) proposed companion measures to defund Planned Parenthood in response to a series ofmisleading videos targeting the organization's fetal tissue donation program. Conservative leaders in the Ohio Legislature decided to move forward with the House version of the measure (Sanner, AP/Sacramento Bee, 1/27).

Planned Parenthood has stated that the videos were heavily edited and that the filmed officials did not conduct any illegal activities.

According to a Planned Parenthood official in Ohio, the organization does not participate in a fetal donation program in the state. 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 (Women's Health Policy Report, 11/19/15).

Bill Details

The bill would cut $1.3 million in public funding for Planned Parenthood (AP/Sacramento Bee, 1/27). 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, 11/19/15).

Comments

PPGO CEO Stephanie Kight said the organization's clinics would remain open if the bill were approved, but that PPGO's programs for health education and prevention would be severely affected.

Kight said the measure was a "shameful moment" for state lawmakers, noting, "They have used this legislation to make a political statement and boost their careers." She added that PPGO will "certainly look at every option" if the bill passes, including legal action (AP/Sacramento Bee, 1/27).