Ohio media outlets are warning about the potential health care consequences if Ohio Gov. John Kasich, a Republican presidential candidate, is successful in his push to defund Planned Parenthood. News outlets are saying the move could potentially “jeopardize comprehensive health care for women around the state.”
Kasich Is Expected To Sign Legislation Defunding Planned Parenthood
Kasich To Sign Bill “Stripping Government Money From Planned Parenthood.” John Kasich is expected to sign legislation that would take away government funding from Planned Parenthood. The Associated Press reports that the bill, which was approved by the Ohio state legislature February 10, targets $1.3 million that Planned Parenthood receives from Ohio's health department, which supports “initiatives for HIV testing, breast and cervical cancer screenings, and prevention of violence against women” :
Ohio Gov. John Kasich is expected to sign a bill stripping government money from Planned Parenthood, a move that might help him with conservatives who dominate the upcoming Republican presidential primary in South Carolina.
The House gave its final approval Wednesday on a mostly party-line vote, with the bill's Democratic co-sponsor voting in favor and two Republicans voting against it.
The bill targets the roughly $1.3 million in grant funding that Planned Parenthood receives through Ohio's health department. The money, which is mostly federal, supports initiatives for HIV testing, breast and cervical cancer screenings, and prevention of violence against women.
The legislation would prohibit such funds from going to entities that perform or promote abortions, their affiliates and those that contract with an entity that performs abortions.
Kasich is unlikely to reject the bill. [The Associated Press, 2/10/16]
Ohio Media Say Defunding Planned Parenthood Would “Jeopardize Comprehensive Health Care For Women Around The State”
Cleveland Plain Dealer Editorial Board: Bill May “Directly Penalize Women Who Seek” Other Health Services. In a January 29 piece, the Cleveland Plain Dealer's editorial board called out the bill to defund Planned Parenthood in Ohio as an effort that may “directly penalize women who seek non-abortion health services.” The board explained that “only demagoguery can explain a purported anti-abortion bill that wouldn't really limit abortion but really would limit health services that benefit women” :
Many Ohioans have a good-faith belief in the right of women to choose abortion, something courts have consistently upheld. Many other Ohioans have a good-faith belief that abortion is wrong. But Substitute House Bill 294, which the Ohio Senate passedon Wednesday, and which purports to penalize Planned Parenthood indirectly because it provides abortions, may instead directly penalize women who seek non-abortion health services.
That is, HB 294, which needs only the Ohio House's final OK and Gov. John Kasich's signature to become law, is a partisan response to a divisive and, yes, moral question. In no discernible way would HB 294 necessarily limit the number of abortions women may choose to obtain in Ohio. That number is already steeply declining. And that decline is first and foremost the result of the thoughtful, painful decisions that some Ohio women have had to make.
[P]olitics explains HB 294, not principle. But only demagoguery can explain a purported anti-abortion bill that wouldn't really limit abortion but really would limit health services that benefit women. That is, a plan to take Planned Parenthood down a notch or two actually takes a swipe at 51.1 percent of Ohio's people. HB 294's backers may claim it's “philosophical.” If they cared about accuracy, the word they'd use is “cynical.” [Cleveland Plain Dealer, 1/29/16]
Akron Beacon Journal Ed Board: Bill “May Lead To Funding Complications For Local Hospitals And Public Health Departments.” In a January 29 editorial, the Akron Beacon Journal's editorial board noted that the “loose language in the bill may lead to funding complications for local hospitals and public health departments.” The Beacon Journal also said Planned Parenthood brings “opportunity to those in tough circumstances ... though family planning” and “provides health services that elevate lives,” “a mission the governor shares” :
Proponents contend the measure would enhance the quality of health care for women by spreading state dollars more broadly across the state. They overlook that many women, especially in disadvantaged areas, prefer Planned Parenthood. More, the organization has received funding in the past because its work has been rated highly for quality and cost-effectiveness.
So, why take that away? One argument revives criticism about the money indirectly supporting abortions. Yet this matter was addressed decades ago through the compromise barring coverage of abortions with public funds.
For their part, critics of the legislation warn that the Republican majority has not weighed fully the potential consequences, and not just for women who use the array of services provided by Planned Parenthood. Opponents rightly caution that loose language in the bill may lead to funding complications for local hospitals and public health departments.
In the past, this editorial page has urged John Kasich to veto legislation in which the Republican majorities have gone too far in restricting abortion rights. Then, the Associated Press reported last fall that the air of neutrality suggested by the governor amounted to deception on his part. His staff had a hand in writing the legislation.
Still, it is worth trying again, even with the governor preoccupied as he makes his presidential run. No doubt, he opposes abortion. At the same time, he talks about bringing opportunity to those in tough circumstances. That is the mission of Planned Parenthood, essentially, achieved through family planning. It provides health services that elevate lives, a mission the governor shares, and why he should veto this bill. [Akron Beacon Journal, 1/29/16]
Cincinnati Enquirer: Possible Consequences Of The Bill Have “Some Healthcare Workers Worried.” In a February 10 article, The Cincinnati Enquirer explained that while it is unlikely that Planned Parenthood clinics will “close their doors over this lost money,” the amount cut “does represent a large chunk of the organizations' budget for health education” and those programs “could be scaled back.” The article also points out that some health care workers are worried that “clinics might not have the capacity to serve all the patients that Planned Parenthood does” while Planned Parenthood warns that the proposal will “have unintended consequences for health departments and hospitals seeking the same money” :
[D]on't expect Planned Parenthood's clinics to close their doors over this lost money. But nearly $1.4 million does represent a large chunk of the organizations' budget for health education. Those programs, especially at smaller clinics, could be scaled back, said Stephanie Kight, CEO of Planned Parenthood of Greater Ohio.
Are local health clinics prepared to replace Planned Parenthood?
Time will tell. The size of a health center and the length of its waiting list could determine whether they have the capacity to take on Planned Parenthood clients, Runyons said.
But the change has at least some healthcare workers worried. Claire Boettler, president of the Ohio Public Health Association, cautioned lawmakers in a letter that clinics might not have the capacity to serve all the patients that Planned Parenthood does. Rachel D'Amico, a Cincinnati native and Ohio State University medical student, said she fears a repeat of what happened in Texas: community health centers saw an 81 percent increase in their caseloads after Planned Parenthood was defunded in 2012.
“Defunding health centers overnight that serve thousands of people in Ohio, will create an immediate crisis in health care access. In a health care system that is already overworked, other community centers are not equipped to serve so many more patients,” D'Amico said.
Will the change cut off health departments and hospitals from money?
Maybe. Planned Parenthood advocates argue that the proposal to ax money from its coffers will have unintended consequences for health departments and hospitals seeking the same money.
Because of the way the change is worded, any health department or hospital that interacts with an abortion provider could be barred from money, Kight said. For example, if Hamilton County accepts health insurance that covers abortions for something unrelated, like a flu shot, that could put the county's state money at risk. [The Cincinnati Enquirer, 2/10/16]
Toledo Blade Columnist: Bill Would “Jeopardize Comprehensive Health Care For Women Around The State.” In a February 6 column, Toledo Blade columnist Marilou Johanek explained that the bill to defund Planned Parenthood would “jeopardize comprehensive health care for women around the state” :
Ohio women see how Mr. Kasich supports not only anti-abortion measures, which include restrictions on women seeking abortions and new limits on emergency transfer agreements with hospitals, but also defunding Planned Parenthood. A bill that would end state aid to Planned Parenthood and jeopardize comprehensive health care for women around the state is heading to the governor's desk. [Toledo Blade, 2/6/16]