Ohio House blocks Planned Parenthood funding
By Marc Kovac
The Ohio House approved legislation to block public funding of Planned Parenthood or other abortion providers.
HB 294 passed on a vote of 62-33 Tuesday. It now moves to the Ohio Senate for further consideration. Identical legislation moved through the Senate last month.
The legislation would require the Ohio Department of Health to ensure public funds are being used for their intended purpose – the legislation lists breast and cervical cancer, HIV/AIDS initiatives and other specific programs – and not for abortions.
Funds from the specified programs would be blocked for groups that perform abortions or have contracts or are affiliated with providers of such services.
“There is no mention of any particular abortion provider in this legislation,” said Rep. Margaret Conditt, R-Butler County, adding later, “We need to focus our tax dollars on saving babies, not aborting babies.”
Planned Parenthood received about $1 million in public funding through the state health department last year. Under HB 294, those funds would go to other community health centers, proponents of the law changes said.
“This bill does not reduce current funding,” said Rep. Barbara Sears, R-Lucas County. “In fact, if these dollars are reallocated, this legislation actually allows the support of over 1.56 million new patients through work with their community health centers.”
The legislation was introduced after video recordings released earlier this summer showed Planned Parenthood employees allegedly discussing the sale of body parts from aborted fetuses.
Opponents of the legislation said the video recordings were heavily edited and that Planned Parenthood does not sell or otherwise illegally transfer fetal tissue.
Opponents also spotlighted other services provided by Planned Parenthood that would be affected by the legislation, as well as current prohibitions on public funds being directed for abortion services.
Democrats attempted a couple of amendments from the floor, including one that would block the law changes if services of jobs were cut as a result.
State Rep. Michele Lepore-Hagan of Youngstown, D-58th, offered an amendment to require schools to provide medically accurate information as part of sex-education courses.
“Don’t fool ourselves into believing that unintended pregnancies will decrease after ... you pass this bill,” Lepore-Hagan said. “Our young people will just keep getting into trouble because we’re refusing to educate them on prevention and protection.”
All the amendments were blocked from the final bill.