Newspaper article Charleston Gazette Mail

Planned Parenthood Targets Ohio Law That Strips Funding

Newspaper article Charleston Gazette Mail

Planned Parenthood Targets Ohio Law That Strips Funding

Article excerpt

COLUMBUS, Ohio - Planned Parenthood sued Ohio's health department on Wednesday, saying thousands of patients could be denied access to HIV tests, cancer screenings and other services under a law designed to strip public money away from the organization's affiliates in the state. The law targets the roughly $1.3 million in funding that Planned Parenthood gets through Ohio's health department. That money, which is mostly federal, supports certain health education and prevention programs. The state's law would bar such funds from going to entities that perform or promote abortions.

Ohio's law is slated to take effect May 23, but Planned Parenthood is suing to block the restrictions from being enforced.

Republican Gov. John Kasich signed the legislation into law in February during his presidential bid.

In its federal lawsuit, Planned Parenthood of Greater Ohio and Planned Parenthood Southwest Ohio Region claim the new law violates their constitutional rights by denying them the funds "in retaliation for providing abortions. It names the state's health director as a defendant.

Planned Parenthood says Ohio's law would not force any of its 28 health centers in the state to close, but the legislation would deprive patients of services.

"Even if other health care providers are eventually able to provide similar services, many patients' health care and access to other services will be disrupted because other providers are not prepared to assume responsibility for those services, the organization said in the lawsuit.

Planned Parenthood's attorneys told the court the law "exacts an extreme punishment - total disqualification - even though the funds at issue have nothing to do with abortion.

A spokeswoman for Ohio's health department declined to comment, citing the pending litigation.

Ohio Right to Life, which pushed for the law, called the lawsuit frivolous. …

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