Ohio’s Budget Effectively Defunds Planned Parenthood

Ohio’s House and Senate have chosen a policy that effectively precludes funding for Planned Parenthood, at least as it operates todayThe budget, which is now headed for the Governor’s desk, establishes and funds the “Ohio Parenting and Pregnancy Program.”  Although technically, Planned Parenthood could qualify for funding under the new program, it is highly unlikely that Planned Parenthood would abandon its current model simply to secure funding it doesn’t really need.  From the official bill analysis, here’s what the program does and what it takes to qualify for funding under the new program:

The bill establishes the Ohio Parenting and Pregnancy Program to provide Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) block grant funds to certain private, nonprofit entities that provide services to pregnant women and parents or other relatives caring for children under 12 months of age that promote childbirth, parenting, and alternatives to abortion and meet one of the purposes of the TANF block grant.  [The Ohio Department of Job and Family Services (ODJFS)] may provide funds to these entities by contract (to the extent permitted by federal law).  In accordance with criteria it develops, ODJFS may solicit proposals from entities seeking funds under the Program. Under the bill, ODJFS may enter into an agreement only if the entity meets the following conditions:

(1) The entity is a private and not-for-profit entity;
(2) The entity is one whose primary purpose is to promote childbirth, rather than abortion, through counseling and other services, including parenting and adoption support;
(3) The entity provides services to pregnant women and parents or other relatives caring for children 12 months of age or younger, including clothing,
counseling, diapers, food, furniture, health care, parenting classes, postpartum recovery, shelter, and any other supportive programs or related outreach;
(4) The entity does not charge pregnant women and parents or other relatives caring for children 12 months of age or younger a fee for any services received;
(5) The entity is not involved in or associated with any abortion activities, including providing abortion counseling or referrals to abortion clinics, performing
abortion-related medical procedures, or engaging in pro-abortion advertising; and
(6) The entity does not discriminate in its provision of services on the basis of race, religion, color, age, marital status, national origin, disability, or gender.

The bill permits an entity that has entered into an agreement with ODJFS to provide some or all of the services through a subcontractor. Under the bill, a subcontract may be entered into with another entity only if that entity meets all of the following conditions:

(1) The entity is a private and not-for-profit entity;
(2) The entity is physically and financially separate from any entity, or component of an entity, that engages in abortion activities; and
(3) The entity is not involved in or associated with any abortion activities, including providing abortion counseling or referrals to abortion clinics, performing abortion-related medical procedures, or engaging in pro-abortion advertising.

The ODJFS Director is required to adopt rules as necessary to implement the Program.

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