© 2024 WOSU Public Media
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Democrats Attack "Ridiculous" Planned Parenthood Effort

Democrats in the Ohio legislature are angry about a proposal Republican lawmakers slipped into the governor’s budget adjustment bill that would strip money away from 37 health centers operated by Planned Parenthood. Democratic State Senator Nina Turner was among the first to denounce the plan to put Planned Parenthood at the back of the line for federal funding, essentially zeroing put public money for the non-profit. "We are not children," Turner said. "Women do not need a permission slip from government to decide what is in the best interest of their bodies." Ohio State University student Laura Smales agrees. She says she needs Planned Parenthood’s services. "I go to Planned Parenthood for my annual exams. It’s really my only health care provider that I see throughout the year….especially being a students away from home. I don’t have a family care doctor," Smales said. Democratic State Representative Nickie Antonio says her own 26-year-old daughter, who lacks health care coverage, also relies on Planned Parenthood’s services. "She goes to Planned Parenthood. It’s one of the only places where she can make an appointment, walk in the door and they can give her preventative health care." Dem. State Rep. Kathleen Clyde says she’s relied on the organization, too. "I was a user of Planned Parenthood’s services around the time I was in college and it wasn’t so long ago that I don’t remember how important it was to me." Planned Parenthood estimates 20 percent of American women use the group’s services at some point in their life. That’s why Demo. State Sen. Nina Turner says it’s important to fight Republicans in the Ohio House and Senate to keep funding for the health screenings and preventative care the organization provides. "They’ve got this illusion about abortion that is the rhetoric of the ridiculous," Turner said. "The truth of the matter is Planned Parenthood is necessary for poor, rural and urban women in the state of Ohio but I guess the Republican party is saying the Hell with poor, black, Latino and white women in this state because they don’t matter. Never let the truth get in the way of a good story." But Mike Gonadakis with Ohio Right to Life says the truth is Planned Parenthood doesn’t serve most of Ohio’s poor women. "We have over 290 facilities in the state of Ohio, approximately 160 community health centers, and approximately 130 local departments of health, and that’s where these funds should be going. And they should not be going to the nation’s largest abortion provider." Gonadakis says these are comprehensive care centers that provide many services, including prenatal care and mammograms, something he says Planned Parenthood doesn’t provide. "So I’m not sure what they are providing other than abortions and sexual health types of services such as condoms and the pills," Gonadakis said. Planned Parenthood does offer mammograms and directs women to prenatal services. Gonadakis denies the move to strip funding from Planned Parenthood is politically motivated. "We try to leave the politics out of it. Our goal is to help women who find themselves with unintended pregnancies, help disadvantaged and poor women. The tired talking points of the abortion industry is solely focused on keeping the money they receive on an annual basis. Up to 363 million dollars a year go to Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers. State by state, they are turning off that spigot. Indeed, several states have passed similar legislation to keep Planned Parenthood from getting tax dollars. But there are questions about the legality of doing that. A lawsuit has been filed against the state of Indiana over its law taking away money from Planned Parenthood. For it’s part, the organization’s spokesman says there is no taxpayer money going to fund abortions. And the group says 97 percent of its services have nothing to do with abortion.

Jo Ingles is a professional journalist who covers politics and Ohio government for the Ohio Public Radio and Television for the Ohio Public Radio and Television Statehouse News Bureau. She reports on issues of importance to Ohioans including education, legislation, politics, and life and death issues such as capital punishment.