Planned Parenthood in downtown Dayton. CORNELIUS FROLIK / STAFF

Dayton, Planned Parenthood oppose federal change on abortion rule

The Dayton City Commission today passed a resolution objecting to efforts to strip federal funding from groups like Planned Parenthood that provide or refer patients for abortion.

The Trump administration has proposed a regulatory rule change for the Title X family planning program that it says will ensure taxpayers do not indirectly fund abortions.

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According to the Washington Post, the language of the rule reads, “A Title X project may not perform, promote, refer for, or support, abortion as a method of family planning, nor take any other affirmative action to assist a patient to secure such an abortion.”

Planned Parenthood, which serves more than 60 percent of Title X patients in Ohio, does not use the taxpayer funds to perform abortions, said Sharon Neuhardt, a board member with Planned Parenthood Advocates of Ohio.

The national organization said the Title X change is a “gag rule” that makes it illegal to tell patients how to safely and legally access abortions.

“What we are seeing at the federal level is a total attack on Planned Parenthood and a desire to defund Planned Parenthood,” she said.

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Planned Parenthood’s mission is to provide high-quality reproductive health services to women, regardless of their ability to pay, and Title X pays for pap smears, birth control pills, sexually transmitted disease tests, Neuhardt said.

Across the state of Ohio last year, Planned Parenthood served about 59,000 family planning patients and provided 26,795 pregnancy tests, 127,232 STD tests, 13,1631 HIV tests and 8,317 cancer screenings, the resolution states.

Under the proposed federal rule, any recipient of Title X funding cannot refer women patients for abortion services and can’t mention the word “abortion,” Neuhardt said.

Planned Parenthood has 27 clinics in Ohio, including one on Wilkinson Street in downtown Dayton, officials said. Three in the state provide abortion services. Dayton’s does not.

There are 20 places in Ohio where Planned Parenthood is the only place uninsured and low-income women can get reproductive health care services, and nine counties have no providers of Title X except for Planned Parenthood, Neuhardt said.

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Dayton City Commissioner Jeff Mims Jr. today said Planned Parenthood provides a wide array of beneficial reproduction health services. He said information is misrepresented and people hear “abortion” and nothing else.

In May, Ohio Right to Life applauded Trump’s proposed rule change, saying Title X funding would finally go to facilities that deserve them.

“Abortion is not family planning, and taxpayers should not be forced to fund the staff salaries, rent, and utilities of abortion facilities, as has been the case in the past with Title X,” Mike Gonidakis, president of Ohio Right to Life, said in a statement.

Ohio Right to Life says 20,672 abortions were performed in 2016.

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