Ohio Republicans renewed their attack on Planned Parenthood Wednesday, threatening again to redirect federal money away from the program to independent community health clinics instead.
At a state House committee hearing Wednesday on the GOP proposal, Democrats complained the witness list was stacked with more supporters of redirecting the money than opponents, according to the Columbus Dispatch
Republican lawmakers opposed to abortion said they hope to move the bill through the House by the end of May. But Republican Rep. Lynn Wachtmann, chairman of the Health and Aging panel, said the timeline was unlikely to be met because he plans to hold one more hearing.
At the same time, Wachtmann blamed Democrats for trying to slow down action on the bill by spending too much time questioning witnesses.
The legislation would create a priority list for awarding federal family planning funds, with Planned Parenthood at the bottom. The effect would be the elimination of $1.7 million for birth control and preventative health care screenings for such things as breast or cervical cancer that Planned Parenthood centers now provide.
None of the money is used to cover the costs of abortions, but supporters of the bill say they don’t want any tax dollars going to organizations that do the procedures.
Beth Lonn, interim chief executive officer for Planned Parenthood of Central Ohio, said the organization’s 32 clinics statewide provide several vital screenings, mainly for poverty-level patients, and abortions are only a small part of the services the agency provides.
She said if the federal funding is lost, services won’t be eliminated but patients will have to pay more of the costs.
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