Democrats did well in Ohio on November 6, with President Obama claiming the state's electoral college votes and Sherrod Brown pulling out a tight race for his Senate seat. But the state's Republicans weren't going to let defeat in the statewide races slow them down. Instead, they immediately returned to their pre-election agenda: targeting Planned Parenthood.
On Nov. 14, House Republicans voted in a lame-duck session to advance House Bill 298, which would likely strip public funding for Planned Parenthood in the state.
The Ohio House Health and Aging Committee voted to approve the bill on a party-line vote. The measure will reprioritize how state and federal family planning funds are administered, bumping Planned Parenthood providers to the bottom rung of eligibility. The bill states that priority for the funds should go to state, county, or local government entities. If "all eligible public entities have been fully funded," then some of the money can go to private groups, but those are also ranked to put Planned Parenthood providers dead last. This would replace the current competitive grant process.
The committee's chairman, Lynn Wachtmann, is among the Ohio House's most anti-abortion lawmakers. He is the sponsor of the state's "Heartbeat bill," which would ban abortions if a doctor can detect a heartbeat—which can be as early as six weeks into a pregnancy. At the beginning of this term, Wachtmann pledged "push the pro-life agenda as far as we can."
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