June 25, 2019 - Tuesday
Planned Parenthood Funding: The Buckeyes Stop Here
When a pro-life state takes away money from Planned Parenthood, where does it go? Ohio has a good answer: pregnancy care centers. In the Buckeye State, leaders may have ended the abortion promotion gravy train, but that doesn't mean they're done. Now, thanks to the work of state house and senate conservatives, Republicans are focused on phase two -- making sure women get the real help they need.
In the new state budget, what used to be a million-dollar commitment to pregnancy resource centers is about to become a $5 million dollar investment. When I asked Ohio Senate President Larry Obhof (R) about the change of directions on "Washington Watch," he said it was one of the easiest decisions he's made. "We have about 200 pregnancy centers across Ohio, and they're providing pretty valuable services to women in need. And that's true for rural communities, suburban and urban alike. They're primarily serving a low-income women -- and women below the poverty level -- who need help."
Of course, one of the most common talking points of the Left is that defunding Planned Parenthood hurts poor minorities. But Senator Obhof and the rest of Ohio's conservatives know, that's simply not true. The only "help" Planned Parenthood is interested in providing low-income women is abortion. And in the end, that creates more problems than it solves. So, Obhof and company have tried to fund pro-life alternatives.
Successfully, it appears. State leaders fended off attacks from national groups and Ohio liberals, who wanted to strip these new opportunities for free counseling to women with unplanned pregnancies, free ultrasounds, parenting classes, prenatal care, and baby items. By 23-10, conservatives kept the language in the bill, where it will almost certainly be passed as part of the overall spending proposal next week. And, as Obhof pointed out to our listeners, Republicans had some bipartisan help moving the legislation along. "... Even some of the pro-choice-minded Democrats in the Senate recognized that additional funding for women's health and additional options for women's health was a positive thing."
He'll be the first to say that the road hasn't always been easy. Like a lot of other states, Ohio was sued by Planned Parenthood and spent months in court for the freedom to spend taxpayer dollars the way they saw fit. "It went up to the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals in the federal courts, and the state was successful this spring in defending that law. So this is the first budget opportunity that we've had since then to invest additional funds into crisis pregnancy centers. And I'm proud of the work that we've been able to do so far." So are pro-lifers everywhere, who hope other states are paying attention!
Tony Perkins' Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC Action senior writers.