House Republicans in Ohio are going to take a swing at moving federal dollars away from health provider Planned Parenthood. But don’t call it a “defunding Planned Parenthood” bill. Instead, call it a “fund everyone but Planned Parenthood first” bill.
By implementing a new priority system for federal family planning dollars, similar to what was enacted in Texas, abortion rights opponents say the proposal may not completely end money for Planned Parenthood in Ohio, but would at least largely defund the group.
Under the proposal, local health departments get the top funding priority, followed by federally qualified community health centers, private care centers and, last, Planned Parenthood.
“We refer to it as defunding Planned Parenthood because a lot of the money, in fact, will go to the top three, but it doesn’t preclude Planned Parenthood, at the end of the day, from receiving money,” said Mike Gonidakis, president of Ohio Right to Life.
“This is a political hit against women’s health and privacy, pure and simple. If it wasn’t they wouldn’t be trying to hide it in the budget,” said Kellie Copeland, executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio, via statement. “Just like presidential candidate Mitt Romney, they are trying to ‘get rid’ of Planned Parenthood. Unfortunately Ohio women are the ones (who) will pay the price. This reckless measure could leave thousands of Ohio women with nowhere to go for birth control, cancer screenings or STI testing and treatment.”
Anti-choice group Ohio Right to Life, says that women would not suffer as those funding dollars removed from Planned Parenthood, would instead go to groups like “Lower Lights Ministries.” But one service that appears to be conspicuously absent from Lower Lights Health Care’s list of medical care that they can provide?
Why? Because not everyone who works there will provide it. “You would have to be an established patient, and it would depend on the doctor,” answered the receptionist at Lower Lights Health Care center when I called to ask if they offer contraception.
Removing funds meant to assist in covering contraception and giving it to groups that decided on a case by case basis whether or not they want to provide contraception?
Only among the anti-choice can this be seen as a reasonable alternative.