The Ohio Senate voted on Thursday to approve a two-year budget that would defund Planned Parenthood, block funding for rape crisis centers and redirect money for women’s health services to Christian-run, antiabortion “crisis pregnancy centers.”
Another provision of the bill would block transfer agreements between abortion clinics and hospitals. Clinics enter into transfer agreements with hospitals to ensure their patients can receive emergency care if necessary, and cannot operate without them.
Women’s health and reproductive rights advocates have denounced the measure, saying it will prevent women from accessing safe abortion care and preventative health programs, like pap smears and mammograms, provided by Planned Parenthood. Kellie Copeland, executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio, said the budget provisions will “wreak havoc on tens of thousands of patients that rely on these facilities” for health care and eliminate subsidized family planning services in 11 counties.
“Ohio state legislators have a responsibility to develop a state budget that protects all of Ohio’s residents, but today state senators chose to use the budget as a vehicle to radically restrict the health and rights of women in our state,” Stephanie Kight, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood Advocates of Ohio, also said in a statement.
The measure will go before the House on Wednesday.