CINCINNATI, Ohio — The Ohio Senate has voted to defund the abortion giant Planned Parenthood, now sending the bill to the House for passage.
“We are moving that money to organizations that are life-affirming organizations,” Sen. Bill Coley, R-West Chester Township, told reporters.
Senate Bill 214 was approved 23-10 on Wednesday, mostly along party lines. The legislation would reallocate over $1.3 million in funding to other health-related groups in the state that do not perform abortions.
“The Department of Health shall ensure that all funds it receives through the Violence Against Women Act to distribute as grants for the purpose of education and prevention of violence against women are not used to do any of the following: (1) Perform nontherapeutic abortions; (2) Promote nontherapeutic abortions; (3) Contract with any entity that performs or promotes nontherapeutic abortions; (4) Become or continue to be an affiliate of any entity that performs or promotes nontherapeutic abortions,” it reads in part.
According to reports, over 50 members of the public signed up to give testimony at a hearing over the bill, providing opinions on both sides of the issue.
“Whether you call yourself pro-life or pro-choice, I think most people have an issue with taxpayer dollars going to an organization that seeks to profit off of the harvest of body parts from the unborn,” said Senate President Keith Faber.
“For me it’s sickening to know that this organization, which was very open to the prospect of ruthlessly dismembering an unborn child in order to obtain higher profit, received over $1 million from Ohio taxpayers in fiscal year 2015 alone,” he stated.
“The Supreme Court has observed that state governments have ‘a legitimate and substantial interest in preserving and promoting fetal life,'” said Alliance Defending Freedom Senior Counsel Steven Aden in written testimony that was submitted to the Senate. “To further that end, states have authority to enact laws and policies that encourage childbirth over abortion, including withholding taxpayer subsidies for abortion.”
Those who spoke in support of Planned Parenthood contended that the organization provides other services besides abortion, such as sex education and contraception.
“More than 80,000 Ohioans are served by Planned Parenthood clinics each year,” said Cheri Holderidge, the leader of Village Church in Toledo and member of the Ohio Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice.
“The last time I checked, regardless of how we feel about it, Roe v. Wade has made abortion legal in the U.S. and is the law of the land,” argued Sen. Capri Cafaro, D-Hubbard. “This debate shouldn’t be about abortion anyway, it’s about access to health care.”
The bill will now move to the Ohio House of Representatives, and if passed, will be sent to the desk of Gov. John Kasich for signing.