They Have City Government.... But We Have You!
We knew two summers ago that the abortion industry has Columbus City government in its pocket when Council Member Liz Brown proposed a local law to make it illegal to do anything that would “annoy or inconvenience” an abortion clinic owner, employee, patient, or other individual within a fifteen foot perimeter of an abortion clinic (except the proposal used "reproductive health care facility").The bill was so egregiously unconstitutional that the ACLU stepped forward to oppose the bill, noting in their testimony that despite opposing the unconstitutional bill, it was a staunch supporter of “abortion rights.” Unfazed, City Council members forged ahead until the 11th hour, when rumor is that someone from the DC office of Planned Parenthood or NARAL called and told them it was a bad idea, and they scrambled to “fix” it. We've covered that issue pretty thoroughly in the past.
That is why it was disappointing, albeit not especially surprising, when I received an email from Columbus City Council announcing its latest press release, “CITY OFFICIALS COLLABORATE TO PRODUCE STUDY ON THE NEGATIVE IMPACTS OF REDUCED ACCESS TO REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH CARE.”
Curious, and remembering our last run-in with City Council on the matter of "Reproductive Health Care," I opened the press release and read on. Council Member Liz Brown and City Auditor Meghan Kilgore jointly wrote a study on Title X in Ohio. One sentence in particular caught my eye, “Planned Parenthood is the sole Title X provider in nine Ohio counties: Athens, Lucas, Mahoning, Medina, Portage, Richland, Summit, Trumbull, and Wayne.” To be clear, this is a press release from two Columbus City officials that is so focused on protecting Planned Parenthood’s access to Title X funding that it explores “problems” in counties that are not even contiguous to Columbus. The entire study only mentions Columbus three times (the cover letter uses it another seven times, mostly in relation to the positions that the officials hold). By contrast, the study mentions Planned Parenthood more than 20 times in just five pages, suggesting that it is pushing a “study” that is more of a defense of Planned Parenthood. Oddly enough, while the “study” gives every appearance of being a piece of Planned Parenthood propaganda, it does not cite Planned Parenthood one time. A reasonable person might question who actually wrote the report and how much help she received.
If you are not familiar with Title X, it is the money that the federal government gives out in the form of grants to entities to pay for things under the broad range of “Family Planning” in low income and uninsured individuals. It covers programs like contraception, std testing and (some) treatment, limited cancer screenings, and referrals and links to other care sources like infertility treatments, HIV care, etc. Pro-abortion groups are upset about a few changes to the program. One is a rule change that would let organizations that provide training in natural family planning or std testing qualify for part of the grant funds as indirect recipients as long as another recipient or individual recipient provided other “comprehensive” care. A second is a proposed rule change, which is still open for public comment until the end of July, would prohibit entities that are using Title X funding from directly referring women to abortion providers. Under the proposed rule, a doctor whose patient indicates she would like to have an abortion may provide her with a list of providers that includes abortion providers. The doctor is prohibited from providing only abortion providers and is prohibited from referring women who do not indicate that they want an abortion to abortion providers. It would also require Title X providers to document that they follow state and local laws pertaining to reporting child abuse, child molestation, sexual abuse, rape, incest, intimate partner violence, and human trafficking. Planned Parenthood and abortion advocates have argued that this is a “gag rule” that will prevent women from accessing abortion. (Side note, if you would like to submit a comment in support of the rule, you can do so here. Remember that your comment will constitute part of the public record so others will be able to read it. You can comment anonymously).
Columbus is facing huge problems. The opioid epidemic is ravaging our communities and citizens. Our infant mortality rates are among the worst in the nation. Incidents of violent crime continue to be reported, and homicide rates are only barely lower than last years’ record-breaking murder rate. Should a member of the Columbus City Council and the Columbus City Auditor be using taxpayer resources to make the case that a rule which will require Planned Parenthood to document that they follow Ohio and local laws about reporting child molestation, child abuse, rape, and human trafficking and prohibit its doctors from referring women who do not specifically request an abortion to abortion providers will hurt people in Richland, Athens, Trumbull, Wayne, and a few other counties? We think not.
 On June 9, 2017, Columbus experienced its 58th homicide of the year. On June 11, 2018, Columbus experienced its 53rd homicide of the year. Source: Columbus Division of Police Media releases.