The campus-area Planned Parenthood, located at 18 E. 17th Ave., plans to keep its doors open despite impending cuts resulting from the signing of legislation by Ohio Gov. John Kasich on Sunday to drop state funding for Planned Parenthood in Ohio.
The move was part of House Bill 294, which cut off state funding from organizations that provide or promote abortions in the state. The bill passed the Ohio House, with amendments from the Senate companion bill, on Feb. 10, with 62 yeas to 32 nays. The Senate companion bill had earlier passed 22 yeas to 8 nays.
The bill also removes funding from organizations that are affiliated with any abortion clinic. The bill applies to Planned Parenthood, which claims to be the leading provider of reproductive health services at the national level.
The organization specializes in reproductive health and prevention, and it provides health services at a discounted cost. The bill strips the organization of $1.3 million in state funding.
Planned Parenthood spokeswoman Jocelyn Smallwood said that though the cut will hit them hard, all 28 care centers across the state will continue to stay open, including the campus-area office, Smallwood said.
“We want to tell people we will be open,” she said. “OSU students should still know they can turn to Planned Parenthood.”
Planned Parenthood has been under fire since last summer, when undercover videos emerged of Planned Parenthood representatives mishandling fetal tissue. Later, parts of these videos were determined to be doctored, after being analyzed by research company Fusion GPS.
“The biggest thing this bill does is defund preventative care services,” Smallwood said. “Those are going to be cut.”
The bill won’t be the end of Planned Parenthood in Ohio, but steep cuts will have to be made in some programs. Educational programs will be hit hardest, Smallwood said. Programs on the chopping block include sex education, healthy relationship education and the Healthy Moms, Healthy Babies initiative.
“These are programs we can all agree that people need,” Smallwood said. “We’re taking them away simply because it’s Planned Parenthood that’s doing it.”
Ohio is not the only state that has defunded Planned Parenthood in recent months. Since the hidden-camera videos were released, nine states have defunded the organization. Additionally, a bill defunding the organization has also been proposed at the national level and passed the House of Representatives.
“The Ohio Department of Health had already stopped awarding state dollars to Planned Parenthood and they were kicked to the back of the line for the federal government’s family planning grants that the department administers,” Kasich’s press secretary Joe Andrews said in an emailed statement. “This bill builds upon that work.”
Kasich, a Republican presidential candidate, has long been an opponent of Planned Parenthood and abortion.
“A lot of the arguments for this bill don’t have to do with preventative health care,” Smallwood said. “What we heard frequently in the testimony is that this bill is for abortion, but this has nothing to do with abortion. State funds don’t go to abortion.”
Smallwood said Planned Parenthood of Greater Ohio is fortunate that it won’t have to close any of its doors, but it will have to cut its pop-up services to low-income areas, making health care even more inaccessible to low-income families.
“We need to take a long look at what’s been done here, which is take health care from people who really need it,” Smallwood said.