One week after the major Democratic victories of Election Day, Ohio’s Republican legislators Nov. 14 pushed HB 298, a bill that will keep federal funds from Planned Parenthood, through committee and into the Ohio House of Representatives floor.
If the bill passes the Republican-controlled General Assembly and is signed by Gov. John Kasich, it will block $2 million in federal funding from Planned Parenthood and prioritize other family services. In the past few years, Planned Parenthood has become a popular target for Republicans because the organization provides abortion services. But that’s not all Planned Parenthood offers; a chart released by the organization in February showed abortions only make up 3 percent of its services.
Another criticism leveled by Planned Parenthood supporters is the federal funding is legally barred from being used for abortions.
Instead, the funding would go to other health services within Planned Parenthood, which provides general women’s health services to poor and rural women.
Some Democratic lawmakers say the bill shows an out-of-touch Republican Party.
“While Republicans rail against women making their own choices, they are cutting funding for education and critical social services that children need after they are born,” said Ohio Sen. Nina Turner in a statement. “They want small government, all right — small enough to fit into a woman’s womb.”
The strong words showcase what was a loud, feisty exchange between Planned Parenthood supporters and Republican lawmakers. At the committee hearings, supporters and opponents of HB 298 testified. Some opponents cited their personal experience, including an emotional account from one woman regarding her own rape at age 13. She said she was glad young women like her can turn to Planned Parenthood for help.
Ohio Rep. John Carney, a Columbus Democrat, pointed out that throughout the hearings, no health care provider testified in favor of HB 298. One doctor testified against the bill. Carney also pointed out that no tax dollars that go to Planned Parenthood pay for abortions.