House Move Puts 80,000 Ohio Women At Risk Of Losing Access To Comprehensive Healthcare
Dem lawmakers say defunding bill highlights out-of-touch, politically motivated agenda
November 18, 2015
[ Teresa Fedor Home | Teresa Fedor Press ]

Democratic lawmakers this week stood in opposition to House Bill 294 (HB 294), which passed the Ohio House this afternoon 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.

In Ohio, Planned Parenthood provides comprehensive healthcare to some 80,000 patients each year. HB 294, and it’s companion legislation, Senate Bill 214, will strip away federal grant money from the organization, leaving tens of thousands of Ohioans with limited access to critical healthcare services.

“It will be a shock for women in the state of Ohio once they realize the Republican-led legislature has taken away critical evidence-based healthcare programs developed to prevent unintended pregnancies and sexually transmitted infections,” said Rep. Teresa Fedor (D-Toledo). “These life-saving programs – which include STI prevention, minority HIV/AIDS initiatives, sex education, and essential breast and cervical cancer screenings – will all be erased. Even more devastating will be the loss of various state programs that combat the rising infant mortality rate all across Ohio. It appears that this war on women marches on with increased aggression.”

Currently, the legislature faces multiple anti-care measures, including bans on abortion after 20 weeks and on pregnancies with a fetal Down syndrome diagnosis. Recent general assemblies have also instituted a number of anti-abortion restrictions, including mandatory waiting periods and private transfer agreements, which have forced a number of healthcare providers to close.

Due to the numerous restrictive policies approved by the Kasich administration, nearly half of the state’s abortion clinics have closed since 2013, from 14 down to 9. Provisions in the latest state budget threaten to shutter another two clinics in southwest Ohio, potentially making Cincinnati the largest metro area in the country without access to safe, legal abortions.

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.

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