Ohio House Defeats Effort to De-Fund Planned Parenthood

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Apr 24, 2012   |   5:26PM   |   Columbus, OH

In a surprising turn of events, the Ohio House of Representatives defeated an effort by pro-life advocates to revoke taxpayer funding from Planned Parenthood.

An amendment had been added to a bill to shut down taxpayer financing of the nation’s biggest abortion business but, today, the state House removed a pro-life amendment from Governor Kasich’s Mid-Biennium Review legislation. The amendment would have defunded Planned Parenthood in Ohio but the House Finance Committee stripped the pro-life amendment, therefore terminating any opportunity to fast track this initiative.

“The pro-life movement is deeply disappointed with this decision, but not disheartened,” said Mike Gonidakis, president of Ohio Right to Life. “The debate to defund the abortion industry has captivated the pro-life movement, not only in Ohio but also across the nation. This is not the last you will hear from Ohio Right to Life and the pro-life people of Ohio. If further vetting is what this amendment needs, we expect hearings on House Bill 298 to begin next week.”

Gonidakis said Ohio Right to Life is extremely grateful to all of its chapters, supporters and affiliated pro-life groups for unifying behind this powerful pro-life initiative. He said House Bill 298 is pending in the House Health Committee to defund Planned Parenthood and his group is calling on all supporters to join it to call on the Ohio House of Representatives to pass this legislation.

Led by pro-life Representatives Kristina Roegner, Cliff Rosenberger and Chairman Ron Amstutz, the legislative amendment embraced the critical need to support low-income women and their children in order to receive health care.

Gonidakis said the new legislative approach would have ensured that tax dollars allocated to health programs for uninsured and underinsured women will continue. The initiative promoted women’s health by restructuring how Ohio tax dollars are distributed, giving priority to those health centers where a majority of Ohio women receive care.

“This is not about taking access to health care away from women,” said Stephanie Ranade Krider, Legislative Director at Ohio Right to Life. “This is about opposing funding of the abortion industry. If we want to talk about choice, this gives women more choices about the way they receive health care.”

In February, Ohio Right to Life and pro-life advocates from Texas Right to Life and the Susan B. Anthony List testified in support of the bill.

“The majority of Ohioans agree that taxpayer funding of the nation’s largest abortion provider is inexcusable,” said Gonidakis said then. “Ohioan’s tax dollars should be used as a responsible safety net to help low-income and poor women.”

Gonidakis said pro-abortion lobbyists “will recklessly claim that women will be denied health care with the enactment of this legislation.”

“In reality, there are over 130 health districts and over 160 community health centers in Ohio that provide family planning services as well as comprehensive primary care. Groups like Planned Parenthood are only attempting to protect the taxpayer money that they have received for decades,” he said.

Marilyn Musgrave, Vice President of Government Affairs for the Susan B. Anthony List and a former congresswoman from Colorado, also strongly supported the legislation.

“Ohio women deserve access to comprehensive health care, and they aren’t going to find it at abortion-centered businesses like Planned Parenthood. Abortion is not health care, and Planned Parenthood is America’s largest seller of abortions,” she said. This common sense legislation improves the quality of health care for Ohio women by prioritizing family planning funding for entities that best serve women. We look forward to working with Representative Kristina Roegner and our friends at Ohio Right to Life to get this bill on the Governor’s desk and signed into law.”

Ohio Right to Life says the abortion industry repeatedly claims that without taxpayer funding for family planning, abortions will increase. However, since 1998, government funding and contracts to Planned Parenthood have almost doubled from $165 million per year to $363.3 million. During the same time period, abortions have increased at Planned Parenthood from 165,509 per year to 332,278.

The state of Texas has been defending against attacks from the Obama administration in the form of threats to revoke federal funding if the state cuts of its funding for the Planned Parenthood abortion business. Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott and state lawmakers directed the Texas Health and Human Services commissioner to sign a rule yesterday that officially bans Planned Parenthood and other abortion businesses from participating in the Texas’ Women’s Health Program.

In December, the Obama Administration refused to renew funding for Texas’ Women’s Health Program (WHP) because of new state rules that disqualify abortion business affiliates from participation in the program. The WHP encompasses Medicaid family planning services for low income women. The program started through authorizing legislation in 2005 and was renewed in the recent 82nd Legislative Session with new pro-life rules.

In September,  the Obama administration made a decision to force New Hampshire taxpayers to fund the Planned Parenthood abortion business after the state’s Executive Council voted to revoke a $1.8 million contract. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced it will provide the contract for family planning with Planned Parenthood directly from the federal government to the abortion business rather than routing the money through the state and letting New Hampshire officials determine who should receive the Title X grants. The council voted against funding because Planned Parenthood does abortions and its top officials earn big six-figure salaries.

The decision came after the Obama administration sent the state a strongly-worded letter to complain. The Health and Human Services Department is claiming the state broke federal rules in denying the Planned Parenthood contract and it alleges the state must provide family planning services to low-income women and that de-funding Planned Parenthood puts it at risk of losing federal funding by supposedly denying women access to family planning — even though other alternatives are available from other agencies.

After Indiana’s decision to de-fund Planned Parenthood, the top Medicaid official in the Obama administration denied Indiana’s use of its new state law that would cut off anywhere from $2 million to $3 million the Planned Parenthood abortion business receives in federal funds via the Indiana government through Medicaid. The Obama administration told the state it can’t implement the new law, with Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Administrator Donald Berwick denying a request to deny funds saying the federal Medicaid law stipulates that states can’t exclude providers based on the services they provide.

Indiana refused to comply and is standing its ground against a lawsuit Planned Parenthood filed and is appealing the Obama administration’s ruling that it can’t determine who receives the Medicaid tax dollars the state is given to dole out. But Marcus Barlow, a spokesman for Indiana’s Family and Social Services Administration, told National Journal, “The way the law was written, it went into effect the moment the governor signed it. We were just advised by our lawyers that we should continue to enforce Indiana law.”