Cincinnati Enquirer Ignores GOP Attempt To Gut Funding For Women's Health Centers
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The Cincinnati Enquirer has failed to mention efforts by conservatives in Ohio to strip funding from Planned Parenthood in the House budget.
Since Republican House lawmakers introduced a substitute bill on April 9 that included the anti-Planned Parenthood measures, several other Ohio newspapers mentioned the proposal to effectively block federal funding for women's health services provider, which could lead to a loss of about $1.7 million. The Akron Beacon Journal penned an editorial attacking the House bill for its planned cuts and The Columbus Dispatch followed suit with an editorial that called for the proposed cuts to be "stripped from the budget." The Cincinnati Enquirer has not produced original content on the stripping of funds, but has published two Associated Press articles which mentioned the plan to strip funding for the women's health organization.
This is the third time this year Ohio Republicans have attempted to strip Planned Parenthood of its funding. As the Cleveland Plain Dealer pointed out, the legislature is attempting to "reprioritize" federal family planning funding to make "Planned Parenthood and other stand-alone family planning providers the lowest priority in getting federal funding." The article further explains that out of the 37 clinics operated by Planned Parenthood in the state, only three provide abortions and that it is illegal to use federal funds for abortion procedures:
House Republican foes of abortions rights inserted language into Gov. John Kasich's mid-budget review bill that would strip Planned Parenthood of up to $1.7 million in federal funding controlled by the state Department of Health.
The language added by GOP abortion opponents, which mirrors a separate bill that sits in committee, reprioritizes federal family planning funds in a way that makes Planned Parenthood and other stand-alone family planning providers the lowest priority in getting federal funding.
"Clearly, the intent of this legislation is to make sure the federal funds are exhausted before Planned Parenthood has the opportunity to apply for it," said Gary Dougherty, state legislative director for Planned Parenthood. Dougherty [said] Planned Parenthood would lose about $1.7 million.
Dougherty said only three of the 37 family planning centers run by Planned Parenthood provide abortions, and noted that it's illegal under federal law to use federal funding for abortions.
In lieu of giving the funds to Planned Parenthood, the bill would give crisis pregnancy centers top priority for funding. As CityBeat, a Cincinnati news site, explained, the money would be used primarily to fund abstinence-only services. However, a 2013 report by NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio found that crisis pregnancy centers exhibit a "pattern of using medically inaccurate information and scare tactics" with their patients.
Another provision of the bill would force all ambulatory surgical centers to have transfer agreements with hospitals, which, according to the Akron Beacon Journal, would give the director of the state Department of Health "broad authority" to decline or revoke a variance to a transfer agreement, essentially allowing abortion clinics to be closed "without good reason."
The fear that the Department of Health would arbitrarily close clinics is not unfounded. In April, the Ohio Director of Health, Dr. Theodore Wymyslo, told the Toledo-based Center for Choice, a women's medical center that provides abortion services, that he was going to revoke the clinic's license because of the lack of a transfer agreement from a full-service hospital. As the Toledo Blade reported, Kellie Copeland, executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio, said that the University of Toledo Medical Center was "bullied" into pulling out of negotiations with the clinic by anti-choice advocates and lawmakers -- a tactic that could be repeated if the budget bill passes.
Planned Parenthood health centers in Ohio give care to approximately 100,000 women per year for a variety of reasons including cancer screenings and prevention and treatment of STDs. Ohio Republicans' plan to cut funding for Planned Parenthood, as well as other measures to restrict women's access to care, would have devastating effects for a huge number of Ohio women.