Ohio Senate Votes to Fund Pregnancy Centers

The Ohio State Senate has passed a budget that will give $5 million to pregnancy centers.

The measure follows a March ruling from a federal appeals court allowing the state to strip Planned Parenthood of its funding. Previously, the state had given Planned Parenthood about $1.4 million in annual funds.

“This is the first budget opportunity we’ve had since then to invest additional funds into crisis pregnancy centers,” Ohio Senate President Larry Obhof, a Republican, said Tuesday during an interview with Tony Perkins on the Washington Watch radio program.

Crisis pregnancy centers, Obhof said, provide women ultrasounds, pregnancy tests, prenatal care, parenting classes, counseling, diapers and clothes, and other financial aid. Ohio has around 200 crisis pregnancy centers that serve low-income women. The centers do not perform abortions.

The $5 million funding for crisis pregnancy centers is in the Senate version of the state budget and not the House, but Obhof expects it to survive negotiations between the two chambers, as Republicans control both. Ohio’s governor, Mike DeWine, is also a Republican.

Tony Perkins, president of Family Research Council, applauded the funding measure.

“Of course, one of the most common talking points of the Left is that defunding Planned Parenthood hurts poor minorities,” Perkins said. “But Senator Obhof and the rest of Ohio’s conservatives know, that’s simply not true. The only ‘help’ Planned Parenthood is interested in providing low-income women is abortion. And in the end, that creates more problems than it solves. So, Obhof and company have tried to fund pro-life alternatives.”

Former Ohio Governor John Kasich signed the original bill that was passed in March and led to last week’s Senate vote. That bill drew praise from pro-life and religious liberty groups.

“Ohio Right to Life is absolutely thrilled that Planned Parenthood will not get any more of our state tax dollars,” Michael Gonidakis, president of Ohio Right to Life, said at the time. “Thanks to this very encouraging decision, Ohioans of conscience won’t have to worry about whether their tax dollars are going towards abortions.”

Mat Staver, founder and chairman of Liberty Counsel, agreed.

“Planned Parenthood does not have a constitutional right to receive taxpayer funds for abortions, and the state of Ohio should withhold all public funding,” Staver said. “Not one penny of taxpayer dollars should ever go to fund the killing of innocent children.”