Columbus, OH -- One week after Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine went directly to press with inflammatory and false allegations about Planned Parenthood’s handling of fetal tissue, he is backing down from his threats to take legal action. This comes just days after Planned Parenthood won a legal victory when a federal court issued a temporary restraining order to protect women’s access to safe, legal abortion in Ohio.
Planned Parenthood’s health centers comply with all laws and regulations regarding safe fetal tissue disposal that is respectful. Fetal tissue is handled by a licensed removal company, just like other health care providers use for all types of medical material. Since 1974, Ohio has required that fetal tissue be disposed of in a safe and respectful manner. In its threats against the nonprofit, the state claimed that Planned Parenthood was in violation of this regulation, despite the fact that for decades, Planned Parenthood has followed these regulations and has never been cited by the state for violation. In fact, the Ohio Department of Health inspected the three Planned Parenthood’s health centers cited by DeWine just this August, and found all three to be in compliance with the law.
Statement from Dawn Laguens, Vice President of Planned Parenthood Federation of America:
“Mike DeWine’s retreat in Ohio should serve as a warning to other states --- these baseless and inflammatory political attacks are not going to fly. Lies and extreme politicians will not stop Planned Parenthood from providing essential reproductive health care --- including safe and legal abortion --- in Ohio and across the country.”
Statement from Jerry Lawson, CEO of Planned Parenthood Southwest Ohio:
“Just like other quality medical providers, Planned Parenthood works with licensed medical removal companies to handle fetal tissue respectfully and safely. The Ohio Department of Health concluded this in August. At Planned Parenthood, we remain focused on providing care to the women in Ohio who count on us.”
Statement from Stephanie Kight, President and CEO of Planned Parenthood of Greater Ohio:
“It didn’t take long to expose what DeWine’s true agenda was -- banning access to safe and legal abortion in Ohio. We talk with patients on a case-by-case basis to answer all of their questions and have always handled fetal tissue in a safe and respectable manner in accordance with the law. We will never stop providing Ohioans with high-quality, personalized care --- no matter what.”
Politicians in Ohio, including the Governor and Attorney General, have done everything possible to eliminate access to safe, legal abortion -- secretly writing abortion restrictions into law, enacting 17 anti-women’s health measures in the last five years, and even appointing the head of Ohio Right to Life to the state medical board. In recent years, Ohio has shuttered over one third of health centers that provide abortion in the state, more than any other state but Texas, even forcing women to cross the border into Michigan to get abortions.
Last Friday, the Attorney General also confirmed that the accusations that Planned Parenthood "sold fetal tissue" were completely unfounded and untrue. These false claims have been made and disproved over and over again. Officials in eight other states (Washington, Pennsylvania, Georgia, Indiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri and South Dakota) have now cleared Planned Parenthood affiliates of all wrongdoing. In addition, seven states (Iowa, Delaware, Idaho, Minnesota, New Hampshire, Virginia, and Colorado) have declined to even investigate Planned Parenthood — finding nothing to substantiate claims of wrongdoing. These new accusations that Planned Parenthood is improperly disposing of fetal tissue are flat-out false.
Planned Parenthood is the nation’s leading provider and advocate of high-quality, affordable health care for women, men, and young people, as well as the nation’s largest provider of sex education. With approximately 700 health centers across the country, Planned Parenthood organizations serve all patients with care and compassion, with respect and without judgment. Through health centers, programs in schools and communities, and online resources, Planned Parenthood is a trusted source of reliable health information that allows people to make informed health decisions. We do all this because we care passionately about helping people lead healthier lives.
Planned Parenthood Federation of America media office: 212-261-4433
December 18, 2015