Ohio Editorial Boards Write Against Defunding Planned Parenthood
Ohio voters sent a loud and clear message on Election Day. Unfortunately not everyone took that message to heart. Last week, an Ohio House Committee voted to move forward with a bill to defund Planned Parenthood. While state legislators are out of session this week, they return next week and could bring this bill to the full floor of the Ohio House for a vote as a early as Tuesday, November 27.
Editorial boards throughout the state have written against this extreme and dangerous bill. We’ve rounded up some of their best comments:
In their latest editorial the Columbus Dispatch says Ohio lawmakers lack validity, in their attempts to defund Planned Parenthood: “Leave it be”—“Ohio lawmakers have no valid reason to steer Medicaid funding away from Planned Parenthood. On Wednesday, the House Health and Aging Committee voted 13-9 for a law to ‘reprioritize’ how the state gives out federal funding for family-planning services. By establishing a priority order that puts public entities first and moves to the bottom ‘nonpublic entities that provide family planning services, but do not provide comprehensive primary and preventive care services,’ House Bill 298 clearly aims to block funding to Planned Parenthood. The reason is no secret: Some people disapprove of Planned Parenthood because it provides abortions. That is not a valid reason to disqualify the organization as a provider of birth control, cancer screenings, prenatal care and other women’s health services. Nor is it an issue that belongs on Ohio’s legislative agenda. Ohioans want lawmakers to focus on restoring the state’s economy and managing its budget wisely, yet Republican lawmakers persist in pushing divisive measures that pander to a minority in the party’s base of support. Besides the pandering, de-funding Planned Parenthood is bad public policy.”
The Toledo Blade writes on what’s really at stake for women’s health during this lame duck session. “Lame ducks”—“… Of greater concern is a bill approved by a Republican-controlled House committee this week that would endanger the health of tens of thousands of Ohio women. It would push Planned Parenthood to the bottom of the list for federal family planning money administered by the state. The bill is intended to punish the family planning agency because about 3 percent of its budget (although no federal funds) is used for abortion services. Planned Parenthood’s 32 Ohio clinics would lose between $1 million and $1.7 million a year if the bill becomes law. Affected would be the 100,000 Ohioans, mostly women, who go to the agency for breast and cervical cancer screenings; pregnancy, HIV, and sexually transmitted disease testing, and birth control. Courts have struck down similar efforts in other states to defund Planned Parenthood. A truly bipartisan Ohio legislature would kill this bad bill now.”
The editorial board at the Cleveland Plain Dealer tells people not to be fooled by out- of-touch legislators pushing an extreme and dangerous bill to defund Planned Parenthood. “An unneeded Planned Parenthood diversion: editorial”—“Executive Director John Coats of Ohio Right to Life maintains he's trying to help women get more access to health care by squeezing off funding for Planned Parenthood and other nonprofits that serve poor, uninsured women in Ohio. Don't be fooled by his pet anti-abortion project, House Bill 298, which first appeared last April only to be squashed by some concerned lawmakers. It tramples on women's health care in an effort to get rid of abortion in Ohio. The bill was voted out of the Ohio House Committee on Health and Aging last week, but no decision has been made on when to bring the bill before the full House for a vote, says a spokesman for House Speaker William Batchelder. Batchelder and Gov. John Kasich, both practical anti-abortion advocates, ought to prod the Ohio General Assembly into focusing on more productive matters, such as boosting jobs.”