National Partnership for Women & Families

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Ohio Gov. signs bill targeting Planned Parenthood

Ohio Gov. John Kasich (R) on Sunday signed into law a bill (HB 294) that will defund Planned Parenthood clinics in the state, the AP/Sacramento Bee reports (Sanner/Welsh-Huggins, AP/Sacramento Bee, 2/21).

According to the Cleveland Plain Dealer, the law is set to take effect in 90 days. However, it could face a legal challenge from Planned Parenthood, which has successfully blocked similar defunding efforts in other states (Higgs, Cleveland Plain Dealer, 2/21).

Background

In 2015, the state House and Senate (SB 214) proposed companion measures to defund Planned Parenthood in response to a series of misleading 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.

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 (PPGO) has 28 clinics in the state, including three facilities that provide abortion care. Overall, PPGO serves about 80,000 patients.

Bill details

The bill cuts $1.3 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 are not 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 will remain intact under the law, but it will be redirected to other entities (Women's Health Policy Report, 2/11).

Comments

Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, denounced the new law. "This legislation will have devastating consequences for women across Ohio," she said, adding, "John Kasich is proudly eliminating care for expectant mothers and newborns; leaving thousands without vital [sexually transmitted infection] and HIV testing, slashing a program to fight domestic violence, and cutting access to essential, basic health care" (Cleveland Plain Dealer, 2/21).

Planned Parenthood spokesperson Amelia Hayes said, "Gov. Kasich should be ashamed for claiming he is invested in the fight against infant mortality while simultaneously defunding one of the best programs in the state for young mothers and their children" (AP/Sacramento Bee, 2/21).

Ohio Democratic Party Chair David Pepper also criticized Kasich's decision to sign the bill, noting, "Rather than listen to the majority of Ohioans who oppose defunding Planned Parenthood, Kasich decided to take sides with radical extremists who were recently indicted on felony charges" (Cleveland Plain Dealer, 2/21).