On the heels of both Ohio Senate
and House of Representative
votes this fall to defund Planned Parenthood after accusations of illegal and improper use of aborted fetal matter surfaced, the state's Right-Wing senators humbly suggested this week some alternatives for the $1.3 million allotted toward women's health and reproductive funds: Food banks. And, dental offices. Also, school nurses.
As the Guardian
pointed out in a well-penned article yesterday, this suggested re-appropriation of Planned Parenthood funds takes direct aim at the financial resources the non-profit uses for services such as STI and HIV testing, access to contraception, domestic violence education, and infant mortality reduction programs, not to mention that none of the proposed funding recipients actually deal directly with women's reproductive health initiatives and some don't even offer any medical assistance whatsoever:
A spokeswoman for the Freestore Foodbank in Cincinnati, which appears on the list, said the group doesn’t provide any medical services at all, although it helps people enroll in healthcare. “We’re just a drug and alcohol treatment center,” said a representative for the Center for Chemical Addictions, also on the list.
The website for the Mayores Senior Center, another entry, is silent on reproductive health services but notes that the center offers a nutritional health program, arts and crafts, casino trips and bingo. “Crest Smile Shoppe,” reads the website for another location on the list, “provides the following health services: dental services”.
The list goes on and on. Distributing responsibilities and services to these kinds of outside provides could be "catastrophic," women's health advocates say, due to lack of access for low income or non-native English speaking families and untrained staff. “If Planned Parenthood goes away as a provider, there will be a void of services in our community, and we don’t have the capacity to fill that void,” Kelli Arthur Hykes, the health policy director for the department of health in Columbus, told the Guardian's Molly Redden.
Some of the suggested funding recipients have gone on record saying they could, in theory, absorb some of Planned Parenthood's patients and responsibilities, but that they "couldn't be certain of reaching those women." Already ranked 48th in the nation for infant mortality, a statistic that creeps even higher when referring to African American children, the state can simply not afford more room for error. “Anything that changes the balance of what’s available right now, we’re afraid it could be disastrous for our community," Hykes said.