In April, Ohio Republicans attempted to defund Planned Parenthood by adding an amendment to the mid-budget review bill. They were thwarted by Ohio Democrats who stripped that amendment from the bill. At the time, Democrats worried that the language would resurface as a stand-alone bill, and surprise! It has:
Legislators last month removed a plan to include the funding changes in a budget bill, but now the plan has returned in House Bill 298, which is pending before the House Health Committee.
The bill calls for setting up a ranking system that would put certain health care providers last in line for federal family planning money. The ranking would be as follows:
Local health departments;
Community health centers;
Private doctors who provide comprehensive care as well as family planning services.
Centers that only deliver family planning services.
Planned Parenthood Affiliates of Ohio receives about $1.6 million a year in federal funds that are passed through the state Department of Health.
Federal law prohibits tax money from being used to provide abortions. Planned Parenthood uses the grant money to offer Pap smears, breast exams, contraceptives and other services. Abortions, which are performed at three of Planned Parenthood’s 32 centers in Ohio, are funded with non-tax money.
Planned Parenthood officials say the funding change means low-income patients may be forced to pay higher fees for the health care services.
“Our patients are not coming to Planned Parenthood to make a political statement, they are coming to get health care from a trusted health care provider that has been an important part of Ohio’s health care network for more than 80 years,” said Beth Lonn, interim chief executive of Planned Parenthood of Central Ohio.
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