Co-written by John Patrick Carney
Democrats in Ohio have repeatedly stood up for a woman's right to make her own decisions about her health care. Unfortunately, Republicans in Ohio have not shown this same support for women. Republican Gov. John Kasich and his allies introduced Ohio House Bill 298, which -- if passed -- will strip Planned Parenthood of about $2 million in funding. This funding allows Planned Parenthood to provide comprehensive women's health care including annual exams, mammograms, and cancer screenings. Despite Republican claims, this funding does not provide abortions.
During the course of recent debate in the Ohio legislature, those seeking to strip funding from Planned Parenthood admitted that House Bill 298 was crafted without input from health care professionals -- despite the impact the bill has on women's healthcare. If health care professionals (physicians, nurses, allied health professionals) had been consulted, Republicans would have learned why their actions are against the best interests of Ohio women.
During the hearings, opponents of House Bill 298 presented several health care professionals, including OBGYN Dr. Kimberly Shepherd. Dr. Shepherd testified that Planned Parenthood has repeatedly won a competitive grant process that awards money to health care providers who can provide the best and most cost effective women's health services. Thus, defunding Planned Parenthood will not only limit access to good health care but will cost Ohio taxpayers more in the long run. Dr. Shepherd stated, "I truly believe that if you defund Planned Parenthood, it's going to have a significant impact on women in Ohio. When you look at the medical facts of this, it doesn't make sense to cut Planned Parenthood."
Despite all the evidence against Bill 298, the bill passed the Ohio House Health committee with a party line vote. The important question for Ohio is now: Will Republican Gov. Kasich sign a bill that is both medically unsound and fiscally irresponsible?
Reps. Hagan and Carney were raised in Roman Catholic households, have seven and nine sisters, respectively, and five daughters between them. They voted against the bill to defund Planned Parenthood because it is bad for women's health. Reps. Hagan and Carney urge you to contact Governor John Kasich and encourage him to veto this bill.