Ohio lawmakers are nearing final passage of a budget that defunds the nation’s largest abortion provider and increases support for pregnant and parenting moms in the state.
Fox News reports the Ohio Senate passed the two-year, $69 billion budget bill last week with a $1.5 million cut in funding to Planned Parenthood annually. The budget also includes $5 million for pregnancy resource centers – five times what the nonprofits have received in the past, according to the report.
The bill moves back to the state House for a vote after the Senate amended it, but local news outlets predicted the Republican-controlled legislature likely will pass it. Republican Gov. Mike DeWine is pro-life and likely will support the budget measures as well.
This is the first opportunity Ohio lawmakers have had to defund Planned Parenthood, which does about one third of all abortions in the United States. State leaders have been working for years to cut its taxpayer funding, but Planned Parenthood initially blocked the efforts with a lawsuit.
In March, however, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals sided with the state, upholding a law that defunds Planned Parenthood of state taxpayer dollars.
Last week, pro-life leaders praised lawmakers for making women and babies a priority in the state budget.
“We are so pleased that the Ohio Senate included $5 million in funding for the Ohio Parenting and Pregnancy Support Program, and that efforts to remove this funding were tabled,” said Stephanie Ranade Krider, vice president and executive director of Ohio Right to Life. “This represents a significant investment in meeting the needs of low-income mothers and infants in need of prenatal counseling, care and material resources.”
Approximately 200 pregnancy resource centers provide free material and emotional support to pregnant and parenting mothers and children in Ohio. Support often includes pregnancy tests, ultrasounds, counseling, diapers, maternity clothing and other baby supplies.
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However, pro-abortion Democrats tried to remove the funding from the budget. According to Fox News, state Sen. Sandra Williams, of Cleveland, proposed an amendment to cut the $5 million for pregnant and parenting moms, but her amendment failed.
“The funds in this program do not go to evidence-based initiatives proven to reduce infant and maternal mortality,” Williams said. “Rather, they go to organizations with anti-choice agendas who often offer inaccurate medical information.”
State Senate President Larry Obhof told Washington Watch that they were glad to provide more funding for pregnant and parenting mothers in Ohio.
“This is the first budget opportunity we’ve had since then to invest additional funds into crisis pregnancy centers,” Obhof said.
Abortion activists responded by attacking pregnancy centers and the work they do to support mothers in need.
“We should not be spending this $5 million that will do nothing but hurt the people that come to them for care,” Jamie Miracle of NARAL Ohio told WOSU. These are “fake women’s health centers that provide incomplete care at best and lies and manipulation at worst.”
However, the pro-abortion movement has not been able to produce any evidence that pro-life pregnancy centers hurt women.
“What they mean is, these are pro-life options and we’d prefer that you give the money to Planned Parenthood,” Obhof told the local news. “The legislature has chosen over time to make a decision that we would not prioritize organizations that perform non-therapeutic abortions. They took us to court. They lost.”
A strong majority of Ohio residents wanted Planned Parenthood to be de-funded and the money redirected to community health centers, according to a 2015 poll taken when lawmakers began debating the issue.
Pollsters found 64 percent of Ohioans believed that Congress should end taxpayer funding to Planned Parenthood, which received more than $528 million in taxes in 2014.
Even more Ohioans (68 percent) said taxpayers should not subsidize a group liked Planned Parenthood, and the government should redirect funding to the thousands of health clinics across the country that provide comprehensive health care to women and their families.
Planned Parenthood aborts about 330,000 unborn babies every year. Its CEO Leana Wen recently admitted that abortions are their “core mission