In what’s quickly becoming a depressing pattern, the Ohio Senate has voted 23-10 to pass Senate Bill 214, which will divert all of Planned Parenthood’s funding to other organizations. The bill went to a vote after only two public hearings, instead of the Senate’s customary three, because lawmakers were confident the bill would pass.
SB 214, which you can read in full here, dictates that state and federal funds can’t be used for “non-therapeutic” abortions, defined as “an abortion that is performed or induced when the life of the mother would not be endangered if the fetus were carried to term or when the pregnancy of the mother was not the result of rape or incest reported to a law enforcement agency.”
The Columbus Dispatch reports that the vote proceeded along party lines; the bill is meant to direct money away from any health organizations that performs abortions, meaning Planned Parenthood. Last year, the state allotted $3.7 million to PP, including Medicaid reimbursements and $2,325,000 in federal Title X funds. Title X funds cannot legally cover abortion; neither does Medicaid, except in cases of rape, incest, and life endangerment.
That means, as always, the money taken from Planned Parenthood is money that would have been spent on STD tests, birth control, cancer screenings. The Dispatch reports that state senators were eager to get the bill passed as quickly as possible, preferably without too much testimony from their constituents:
The decision to bring the bill to Senate for a vote comes after two hearings of testimony, just one short of the standard three.
Committee Chair Sen. Bill Coley, R-Liberty Township, said more than 50 individuals had signed up to testify at today’s hearing but insisted a third hearing would only slow down the process of approving a bill he’s confident will pass.
“I think there’s a broad consensus of support of the bill, I think it’s close to two-thirds of all the senators are going to vote in favor of this bill,” said “We want to get it moving and get it enacted into law as quick as possible.”
The bill will now move to the Ohio House of Representatives and then, probably with little delay, to Governor John Kasich’s desk.
Planned Parenthood sent out a press release after the vote reminding everyone that Kasich isn’t particularly moderate on women’s health issues. Stephanie Knight, CEO of PP’s Ohio chapter, called the vote “revolting,” following that with a Cliff Notes version of the various public health cuts that Kasich has enacted while in office:
Ohioans support Planned Parenthood. This revolting attempt on the part of the Ohio General Assembly to pass laws that blatantly harm women, men, and their families, especially those in underserved areas, is unforgivable. The fact that Ohio lawmakers are making this attempt when the majority of the people in this state have made it clear that they oppose defunding is even worse. We will continue to be a voice for the thousands of women and men who turn to us each day. We aren’t going anywhere.”
This bill represents an extreme anti-abortion agenda that has been led by Governor Kasich since he took office. Through budget provisions and legislation, John Kasich has signed 16 anti-women’s health measures that have made it increasingly difficult to access reproductive health care and has significantly decreased the number of health centers that provide abortions.
Only three of the 27 Planned Parenthoods in Ohio perform abortions.
Anti-abortion protester Edward Hyde outside of Planned Parenthood’s Cincinnatti location, September 2015. Screengrab via WCPO