Ohio’s anti-choice lawmakers are hoping the third time will be the charm in their crusade to strip funding from Planned Parenthood affiliates. The legislature is currently reviving an effort to “re-prioritize” family planning funding in the state, which would serve to slash about $2 million dollars from the 32 Planned Parenthood clinics currently operating in the state. This type of legislation has already been debated in the legislature twice over the past year.
Abortion opponents in the state are seeking to revise Gov. John Kasich’s (R) new budget bill to reallocate Planned Parenthood’s funding to so-called “crisis pregnancy centers,” or CPCs. The executive director of Ohio Right to Life, John Coats, has described CPCs as “well-equipped and deserving institutions that support healthier lives and not death,” suggesting that Ohioans would be better served by choosing those organizations over Planned Parenthood.
But CPCs are simply front groups for the right-wing agenda, and they don’t actually provide the same range of health services as Planned Parenthood’s clinics do. CPCs often don’t employ medical professionals, and don’t provide abortion services or abortion referrals. In fact, they actually offer misleading medical information in an attempt to coerce women out of their decision to terminate a pregnancy.
Planned Parenthood supporters in the state are fighting back. On Thursday and Friday, women’s health advocates testified before the Ohio House Finance and Appropriations Committee. Accusing lawmakers of “playing politics” with health care, women spoke about their own experiences receiving preventative care at Planned Parenthood clinics, urging politicians to stop targeting the national women’s health organization.
Unfortunately, Ohio is not alone. Even though family planning clinics like Planned Parenthood provide essential services to low-income women — often serving as those women’s primary care provider — they’re under attack in states across the country. Republican lawmakers continue to advance measures to strip funding from family planning resources. In states like Texas, where those efforts have successfully moved through the legislature, the diminished family planning funding has led to serious consequences — resulting in fewer health clinics, fewer women able to access the care they need, and a greater number of unplanned births.