A law in Indiana that would cut federal money to Planned Parenthood has been struck down by federal courts. Ohio lawmakers are considering a similar law that would re-prioritize federal dollars passed down for family planning so that Planned Parenthood would lose money. Ohio Public Radio’s Jo Ingles takes a look at whether the decision on the Indiana law will have on the bill under consideration in Ohio right now.
A federal court in Indiana struck down the Indiana law last week that cut off Medicaid dollars to Planned Parenthood in that state. The U.S. Supreme Court won’t take up the case so the law appears to be dead now. Ohio lawmakers have added an amendment to the proposed two year state budget that would re-prioritize funding for federal dollars for family planning. And Planned Parenthood says that would mean they’d lose most, if not all, of their funding.
Ohio Right to Life President Mike Gonadakis says that proposal should proceed.
Gonidakis: "The Indiana situation is night and day different than what we are doing here in Ohio and has no impact whatsoever on the legislative amendment to the budget.
Gonidakis says the proposal being considered by lawmakers is different than Indiana’s law in a couple of key ways.
Gonidakis: "We know for a fact that ours would withstand any court challenge. What we do, quite simply, is re-prioritize the funding. It keeps Planned Parenthood in the mix whereas in Indiana, they completely, through their legislative initiative banned Planned Parenthood from receiving funding whatsoever."
It probably doesn’t come as a surprise that Kellie Copeland with NARAL Pro Choice Ohio disagrees with Gonadakis. Copeland says the Ohio bill and the Indiana bill are similar.
Copeland: "It’s the same goal. The goal is to de-fund family planning providers. To imprint themselves in the health care decisions of Ohio women. They are just trying to do it in a little different way to get around the courts but I predict they will be unsuccessful."
Copeland says Ohio lawmakers ought to think twice about including this amendment in the budget bill because they would end up spending time and money fighting in court over this, only to find it would be rejected. And she says the court of public opinion is on her side.
Copeland: "I think Ohioans just look at this and shake their heads and say….are we really still debating birth control? I mean it’s 2013. It not 1950."
But Ohio lawmakers are not heeding Copeland’s suggestions right now. The bill to re-prioritize federal planning dollars remains in the budget at this point. Testimony on the issue continues this week in the Ohio Senate’s finance committee.