Rep. Ashford: Defunding Planned Parenthood Puts Politics Over People
Bill will defund county health departments, reduce access to healthcare for Ohio women
February 11, 2016
[ Michael Ashford Home | Michael Ashford Press ]

State Rep. Mike Ashford (D-Toledo) recently stood in opposition to House Bill 294 (HB 294), which passed the Ohio House during a concurrence vote yesterday along largely partisan lines. The legislation will implement restrictions that redirect public funds away from providers who perform or promote legal abortions in Ohio. The bill comes amid a national right-wing effort to defund Planned Parenthood, a move that could leave thousands of women in the Buckeye State with limited or no access to affordable preventative healthcare.

“On a national level, Republicans have politicalized Planned Parenthood and created the perception that the health care facility performs illegal abortions,” said Ashford. “So far, no investigation conducted by Congress or state officials has shown evidence that Planned Parenthood illegally perform abortions.”

In Ohio, Planned Parenthood provides comprehensive healthcare to some 80,000 patients each year. By defunding Planned Parenthood, the state is defunding sex education programs, HIV/AIDS testing procedures, infant mortality prevention programs, breast and cervical cancer screenings and domestic violence education programs. Ultimately, House Bill 294 puts tens of thousands of women at risk by stripping away federal grant money to these essential life saving health care programs and procedures.

“Instead pursuing a politically motivated agenda that cuts off access to healthcare for tens of thousands of Ohio women, we should be focused on supporting Ohio families and taking action to lower our state’s unacceptably high infant mortality rate,” said Ashford.

The GOP-controlled House's passage of House Bill 294 comes amidst nationwide Republican push to defund Planned Parenthood after heavily edited, politically motivated videos surfaced appearing to show the organization discussing the sale of fetal tissue for research. The videos have since been widely discredited, and two Republican led investigations into Ohio's Planned Parenthood also showed the organization's activities are only in furtherance of Ohio women's access to comprehensive healthcare.

Recently, Attorney General Mike DeWine accused Planned Parenthood of illegally disposing of fetal remains in landfills. Independent investigators later discovered that the state of Ohio contacts with the same disposal company used by Planned Parenthood, and follows the same disposal procedures when handling a miscarriage. No unlawful activity was found following the investigation. 

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