NARAL has been asking Ohioans to contact their state senators and representatives since February about a glaring problem with the budget: three critical Medicaid Optional programs were being rolled back. Women between 138% and 200% of the Federal Poverty Level would lose access to breast & cervical cancer treatment, family planning, and pregnancy care. Cuts to that last program were most outrageous because John Kasich has made reducing infant mortality part of many major speeches.
This week, we learned your action has paid off! Reported by Robert Higgs at the Cleveland Plain Dealer:
A two-year budget plan unveiled Monday by the Ohio Senate would restore funding for a pair of Medicaid-supported programs for poor women that the administration had targeted for elimination. …
“Ohioans spoke and politicians listened. We know the dangers of removing coverage for at-risk women seeking to have healthy pregnancies,” said Kellie Copeland, executive director of NARAL Pro Choice Ohio. “If Ohio is ever going to make progress in eliminating infant mortality, we must maintain these programs.”
Still unavailable to uninsured women in the coverage gap is the family planning program. In a statement to the media, NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio said:
An equally important step to reducing infant mortality is access to affordable contraception. Helping women plan their pregnancies allows them to create families when they’re prepared to become caring parents. If the House and Senate are truly committed to correcting the mistakes of the Kasich administration, they’ll restore funding for the family planning program as well.
Finally, and most interesting, the $500,000 for Crisis Pregnancy Center disappeared! Poof, it’s gone. We’re cautiously thrilled, as CPCs are horrible organizations that lie and shame pregnant women seeking answers. They pose as medical providers, but only offer free diapers, ultrasounds, and prayer — contraception or abortion options not discussed.
How did the $500K for CPCs get pulled? What was traded for the budget item? We don’t know, but nothing is free.
We’ll be keeping a constant watch as we count down the end of budget season. Kasich is due to sign the bill on June 30.
Help build a pro-choice Ohio. Every day, NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio fights to protect access to the full range of reproductive health care options—including preventing unintended pregnancy, bearing healthy children, and safe & legal abortion care. We educate the public about the real threat to women’s healthcare posed by anti-choice legislation and policies. We mobilize pro-choice Ohioans to take political action to defend reproductive rights. And we are the voice for Ohio’s abortion clinics, helping them navigate the increasingly hostile climate created by extremist groups. But we need your help. As a member organization, we rely on your financial support to fund our important legislative, educational, and grassroots activities.