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Springdale and Western Hills Locations Serve More Than 6,000 Patients a Year

CINCINNATI  –– Relentless state and federal attacks against reproductive health care are forcing Planned Parenthood Southwest Ohio Region to close two health centers in Cincinnati –– putting access to STI testing and treatment, birth control and cancer screenings at risk for thousands of patients in the region. Cincinnati has the highest rates of chlamydia and gonorrhea infection of any city in the state, and people in Hamilton County can’t afford to lose access to the services that the Springdale and Western Hills Health Centers provide.

Ohio politicians have passed 22 anti-women’s health measures in recent years, including laws to “defund” Planned Parenthood and cut critical programs on which Ohioans rely. Already nearly half of all health centers in Ohio that provided safe, legal abortion have shuttered since 2011. 

This comes as the Trump administration has begun to enforce a gag rule intended to force Planned Parenthood to stop providing birth control, cancer screenings and STI testing through Title X –– the nation’s program for affordable birth control and other reproductive health care. Ohio has more than 730,000 patients in need of publicly-funded contraceptive services, and the state ranks 48th in the country for publicly-funded birth control and contraception, cancer screenings, and STI and pregnancy tests. This gag rule threatens access to health care for them, and for millions of people across the country struggling to make ends meet. 

Statement from Kersha Deibel, President and CEO of Planned Parenthood Southwest Ohio Region:
 

“Cincinnati is the last place politicians should be forcing health centers to close. While we’ve been battling sky-high STI rates, politicians like Sen. Rob Portman, Rep. Steve Chabot, and Govs. Mike DeWine and John Kasich have spent years relentlessly working to chip away at Ohioans’ reproductive health care. This is the world they want to see: one where women lose access to birth control, where information about how to access abortion is held hostage, and where, if you don’t have money, it’s almost impossible to access an STI test or a cancer screening. 

“We cannot let what’s happening to thousands of patients in Cincinnati happen to millions more across the country. The U.S. House already passed a bill that would prevent more people from losing health care by blocking Trump’s Title X gag rule. It’s time for Sen. Portman and his Senate colleagues to act now and protect what’s left of reproductive health care in our state. For 90 years, people in Ohio have trusted Planned Parenthood to provide life-saving health care and education services. Planned Parenthood will not back down from this fight — our patients are too important.” 

These closures and the state of reproductive health care in Ohio are the result of a one-two punch from the Trump administration and emboldened state politicians who have chipped away at reproductive health care across the state. It’s created a domino effect for people who already struggle to access affordable health care.

BACKGROUND ON POLITICIANS’ ATTACKS ON REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH CARE IN OHIO

2016: Gov. John Kasich signed a law blocking Planned Parenthood from providing health care and education through several publicly funded programs. This law:

  • ended access to the more than 70,000 free STI screenings that Planned Parenthood provided through the CDC STI prevention program.
  • cut more than 5,000 free HIV and STI tests for individuals with higher risk factors for HIV, including men who have sex with men and Black women.
  • stripped funding that helped Planned Parenthood provide healthy relationship education through the Violence Against Women Act.
  • defunded Planned Parenthood of Greater Ohio’s infant mortality prevention program Healthy Moms, Healthy Babies — despite Ohio having one of the highest infant mortality rates in the nation among Black babies. 

March 2019: Despite a previous three-judge panel for the 6th Circuit court unanimously ruling Kasich’s 2016  law is unconstitutional, the en banc (full court) 6th Circuit upheld the law. This happened after then-Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine, unhappy with the ruling of the three judge panel, asked for full court review.

August 2019: The Trump administration began to enforce an unethical gag rule on Title X, the nation’s only dedicated program for affordable birth control and reproductive health care. The gag rule makes it illegal for any provider in the Title X program to tell patients how or where to access abortion, and imposes cost-prohibitive and unnecessary “physical separation” restrictions on health centers that provide abortion –– moves that are clearly meant to push Planned Parenthood health centers and other reproductive health care providers out of Title X. Planned Parenthood plays an essential role in the Title X program, serving approximately 40 percent of the 4 million patients nationwide who get care through Title X health centers — providing people struggling to make ends meet with birth control, breast and cervical cancer screenings, and STI testing and treatment.

September 2019: Though the U.S. House of Representatives has already passed a spending bill that would block the gag rule, Sen. Rob Portman has been silent on the harm of dismantling the Title X program. The Senate must now pass its version of the spending bill that includes protective language to prevent more patients from losing access to care.

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