Democratic state lawmakers and healthcare advocates took to the Ohio Statehouse steps this evening to push back against proposed restrictions that would defund and limit women’s access to healthcare in the Buckeye State. The event also drew hundreds of activists and supporters who donned pink glow-stick necklaces as a sign of solidarity.
“We are spending far too much time vilifying Planned Parenthood and politicizing attempts to defund them,” said Rep. Emilia Sykes (D-Akron). “The legislature needs to get back to the basics - getting people back to work, providing for the safety and welfare our citizens, and creating an environment of opportunity for all Ohioans. Defunding Planned Parenthood for political gain won't get us there. I call on my colleagues to get back to work.”
Currently, the legislature faces six anti-care measures, including bans on abortion after 20 weeks and on pregnancies with a fetal Down syndrome diagnosis. Recent legislation being considered this week in the Senate threatens to defund Planned Parenthood, a move that would leave thousands of women with limited or no access to affordable preventative care in Ohio. The bill, Senate Bill 214, has companion legislation also moving through the House in the form of House Bill 294.
“Women have a fundamental right to control their own healthcare decisions,” said Senate Minority Leader Joe Schiavoni (D-Boardman). “Access to care goes hand in hand with economic opportunity, and we cannot allow partisan politics to restrict the freedoms of any woman in our state.”
Recent general assemblies have also instituted a number of anti-abortion restrictions, including mandatory waiting periods and private transfer agreements, which have forced a significant number of healthcare providers to close.
“Planned Parenthood provides critical healthcare services to women all across the state, and threatening to defund them for purely partisan reasons will irresponsibly cut off care for tens of thousands of Ohio women,” said House Minority Leader Fred Strahorn (D-Dayton) “Instead of playing politics with women’s healthcare, we should be focused on expanding access and opportunity for all Ohio women.”
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 Republican-led effort to defund Planned Parenthood, which would leave thousands of women and men in Ohio without the critical preventive services they need, is based entirely on lies taken from deceptively edited videos,” said Stephanie Kight, CEO of Planned Parenthood Advocates of Ohio. “Healthcare. That's what happens at Planned Parenthood health centers across our state each and every day. The Ohio legislature should get back to serving their constituents instead of throwing them under the bus to score political points.”