(CNSNews.com) – In a 30-second television ad airing in Ohio, a woman who was raped says she is “sad” for women in the state because the 2014 budget signed into law by Republican Governor John Kasich includes provisions that could “defund Planned Parenthood” and “restrict” help for rape victims.
“Being raped was the scariest thing that ever happened to me,” Audrey Imes says in the ad, which was paid for by the Planned Parenthood Federation of America. “But Planned Parenthood provided the care and the support that I really needed.”
“So when I heard that Governor John Kasich signed a budget that could defund Planned Parenthood, I felt very sad for Ohio women,” Imes says.
“This budget even restricts the help that rape counselors can give survivors like me,” she says. “Politicians should not interfere in private health care decisions between a woman and her doctor.”
One stand-alone bill that was added to the Ohio state budget as an amendment, in fact, provides a new revenue stream for rape crisis centers through fines levied against sex offenders, with proceeds benefiting programs that help rape victims.
And at least one rape victim advocacy group supports the language in the law, which before being added to the budget was stand-alone HB 108.
Katie Hanna, executive director of the Ohio Alliance to End Sexual Violence, sent a letter to legislators supporting the bill.
“Thank you for your leadership and commitment to House Bill 108,” Hanna wrote in the June 10 letter. “The Ohio Alliance to End Sexual Violence is Ohio’s statewide sexual assault coalition supporting rape crisis centers across Ohio providing services to victims of sexual assault.”
“The langue in Sub. House Bill 108 that was approved unanimously by the Ohio House Judiciary Committee on May 29, 2013 will not impact services of sexual assault in Ohio,” Hanna wrote.
The section of the budget addressing abortion, Sec. 3701.033, “establishes the order of priority” with which the state will distribute federal Title X family planning funds and other state funding, with non-public entities that do not provide “comprehensive primary and preventive care services,” which may include Planned Parenthood, last on the list.
Public health clinics and centers take top priority for the funding.
A synopsis of the amendment states: “Prioritizes the distribution of public funds used for family planning services, including funds received from the federal government.” (See Family Planning Funding Priorities.pdf)
CNSNews.com asked a series of questions via email to Stephanie Kight, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood of Greater Ohio, including whether or not its clinics provide rape counseling. Under the “What We Offer” section of its website, rape counseling is not listed.
As this story was posted, Kight had not responded to the questions, which are listed here:
1. How many Planned Parenthood clinics in the state of Ohio offer rape counseling?
2. How many Planned Parenthood patients seek rape counseling at your clinics in the state each year?
3. Does the counseling offered by Planned Parenthood Ohio include referral for emergency contraceptives or abortion?
4. Does the counseling include referral for adoption?
5. How many abortions does PP Ohio clinics perform on rape victims per year?
CNSNews.com also asked Planned Parenthood Federation of America about the ad. The inquiry by telephone was not answered.
Kight did issue a statement back on April 9 about the family planning funding amendment that Ohio lawmakers were considering at that time.
“How disappointing that Ohio Legislators don’t understand women’s health,” Kight said. “Once again their (sic) using the budget process to hurt the most vulnerable women, limiting their access to health care. For some women and families, Planned Parenthood is their only health care provider.”
“As a leading provider and advocate for women’s health care across the state, Planned Parenthood knows firsthand that our health centers often make the difference between a woman’s access to lifesaving cancer screenings and birth control or going without,” the statement said.
Emmalee Kalmbach, communications director for Ohio Right to Life, told CNSNews.com that the rape crisis funding passed with a 95-0 unanimous vote, including support from all Democrats in the House.
Now, Planned Parenthood and some Democrats are criticizing the rape and family planning funding portions of the state’s budget.
“I see hypocrisy all around,” Kalmbach said.