Remember that thing about how there’s not really a war on women and that democrats were just making it all up to scare people? Apparently nobody at Republican headquarters remembered to get that memo to their people in Ohio.

Earlier today, the Ohio House Finance and Appropriations Committee met and voted to adopt a number of amendments to HB487, Governor Kasich’s “mid-biennium review” of the two-year state budget. Hidden within a five-page summary of the various amendments is the following innocuously worded item:

“provide a prioritization of family planning funds”

This is shorthand for a proposal, pending in the House as HB298,  that would effectively de-fund Planned Parenthood or any other provider of abortion services, even though Ohio law already prohibits public money from being spent on abortion service. Apparently the GOP didn’t want to go to the trouble of holding hearings on the provision and dumped it into the much larger budget legislation.

Supporters will claim it’s merely a “re-prioritization” of funds, sending money first to government agencies and other providers. But, because Planned Parenthood is last on the priority list, all the money will run out before any of it ever gets to them. That is by design. If you don’t believe us, here’s what Ohio Right to Life has to say:

Today, the Ohio House of Representatives adopted an amendment to cut funding from abortion providers such as Planned Parenthood. Led by pro-life Representatives Kristina RoegnerCliff Rosenberger and Chairman Ron Amstutz, the legislative amendment embraces the critical need to support low-income women and their children in order to receive health care.

NARAL of Ohio summarizes the bill as follows:

This bill, and the companion bill in the Ohio Senate (SB 201) seek to reallocate family planning funding away from organizations that also provide abortion care to government run facilities that may not be best positioned to provide family planning services to the community.  This legislation puts ideology ahead of women’s health.

By inserting the amendment into the budget bill, legislators are likely hoping no one will notice or hold them accountable for their votes.

The amendment was included in House Bill 487. Below is a list of members of the House Finance Committee:

Ron Amstutz R Chair Vernon Sykes D Ranking Minority Member
Jeffrey A. McClain R Vice Chair Mike Ashford D Member
Richard N. Adams R Member John Patrick Carney D Member
Marlene Anielski R Member Kathleen Clyde D Member
Peter Beck R Member Denise Driehaus D Member
Timothy Derickson R Member Mike Foley D Member
Mike Duffey R Member Nancy J. Garland D Member
Randy Gardner R Member Jay P. Goyal D Member
Anne Gonzales R Member Matt Lundy D Member
Cheryl L. Grossman R Member Debbie Phillips D Member
David Hall R Member Alicia Reece D Member
Bill Hayes R Member Stephen Slesnick D Member
Ron Maag R Member
Ross W. McGregor R Member
Craig Newbold R Member
Cliff Rosenberger R Member
Barbara R. Sears R Member
Robert Sprague R Member
Gerald L. Stebelton R Member
Louis Terhar R Member

After the Komen Foundation got burned by taking on Planned Parenthood, apparently the Ohio GOP  want to get in on that action. Let’s make sure they hear from us. Contact your representative (follow the links above, or if your representative isn’t on the Finance committee, look them up here) and let them know what you think of this move. When you do, be sure to urge them to remove the family planning amendment from HB487 before it is voted out of committee. And remind them you’ll remember their vote in November.

Lastly, tell your friends. So far in this legislative term, Republicans across the country have been able to introduce an unbelievable 916 bills in state legislatures. Since taking office last January, the GOP-led Ohio General Assembly has had an aggressive agenda of restricting access to reproductive health services. The far right has advanced this agenda mainly by operating under the radar. Let’s not let them get away with it this time.

Tagged with: