Ohio lawmakers are just one step away from blocking federal grants to Planned Parenthood clinics in the state of Ohio, which the nonprofit tells newsnet5.com would eliminate or restrict many health and education services.
House Bill 294 passed 62-33 last month. Now the Ohio House and Senate must vote on which version should be sent to the governor’s office for signing.
According to 990 tax documents obtained by newsnet5.com, grants and donations make up more than one-third of Planned Parenthood of Greater Ohio’s total revenue.
According to 2015 data obtained by newsnet5.com, current federal grants go towards funding 155,000 STI tests, 14,000 cancer screenings, 13,000 HIV tests in health centers and nearly 5,000 HIV tests in the community annually.
Planned Parenthood of Greater Ohio also uses the funds to provide sex education to more than 14,000 women, men and youth.
The non-profit provides health education and outreach in the community to more than 58,000 women, men and youth annually.
From July 1, 2014 to June 30, 2015, Ohio’s 27 Planned Parenthood locations saw 78,909 patients for a total of 159,462 visits.
Stephanie Kight, CEO of Planned Parenthood of Greater Ohio told newsnet5.com that in a worst case scenario, programs like Violence Against Women Act education, the infant mortality reduction program and HIV testing program could be eliminated.
Kight said the healthcare centers will not turn patients away, but the cuts could affect the price of services.
“What will change is the sliding scale,” Kight said in a phone interview Monday. “There might be a small charge for some people, unless we can find another donor in the community to replace that funding.”
Kight told newsnet.com she fears that a quick reduction in preventative services will only contribute to the need for abortions later on down the road.
According to the text of House Bill 294, the federal funding in question would be redirected to health care entities that don’t “perform or promote elective abortions.”
Ohio Right to Life Executive Director Stephanie Ranade Krider told newsnet5.com that the legislation doesn’t decrease funding for health care.
“This legislation would, in fact, increase the options available to women and men by shifting funding from Planned Parenthood to community health centers, community action agencies, local health departments, and other qualifying organizations,” Krider said.
She pointed to a list of federally qualified healthcare centers listed on the Ohio Association of Community Health Centers website.
According to the site, there are at least 16 community health center sites in Cuyahoga County alone that serve as primary health care providers.
According to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services website, there are 28 health centers within a 15-mile radius of downtown Cleveland.
“By contrast, there are only four Planned Parenthood clinics, providing a limited range of services,” Krider said.
But Kight argues that quality and value of services could suffer.
“A year from now, I would look and see if the same number of people are being served for the same dollar because that’s why we get these grants,” Kight said. “We’re very good at writing efficient programs, high-quality programs.”
Download the newsnet5 app: