COLUMBUS, OH, September 3, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) – Pro-life and pro-family organizations throughout the state of Ohio are putting pressure on governor and presidential candidate John Kasich to defund Planned Parenthood.
A coalition of over sixty Ohio-based groups have signed a letter calling on Kasich to take executive action and end tax funding of the exposed baby organ trafficker. Each group represents a network of supporters, volunteers, and leadership committed to protecting innocent human life.
The coalition, coordinated through Ohio ProLife Action and the two largest pro-life groups in the state (Cincinnati and Cleveland Right to Life), seeks complete cessation and elimination of all taxpayer funding for the abortion giant and from all abortion businesses in the state.
The goal is complete tax defunding of abortion in Ohio. Coalition spokesman Barry Sheets explained, “Callers to the governor's office are being told that Planned Parenthood has been defunded since 2013,” which is not true. To the contrary, Sheets says, “The state treasurer's checkbook shows that their $1.3 million in funding for fiscal year 2014 is the highest level since 2011.”
The letter comes on the heels of explosive undercover videos which show Planned Parenthood officials discussing the sale of human baby parts – some “harvested” while still alive – and how they illegally modify abortion procedures in order to procure “fresh” organs, including – in Planned Parenthood leaders' own words – an aborted baby's “heart,” “liver,” and “brain.”
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Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine has launched an investigation of Ohio's Planned Parenthood affiliates as a result of the Center for Medical Progress's undercover videos.
“Our groups are not calling on Governor Kasich to simply stop Medicaid funding to Planned Parenthood,” continued Sheets. “We are strongly requesting that every dime of taxpayer support, whether coming from the state directly or through federal pull-down dollars administered by the state, be ended.”
Governor Kasich is running for president and trying to broaden his appeal by disavowing pro-life issues as a top-priority concern. In a recent CNN interview, Kasich criticized pro-life Republicans for being too single-issue oriented and said there are other “critical” issues he would focus on as president, including education and the environment.
Kasich and his allies in the state legislature, such as Keith Faber – all of whom claim to be pro-life – have even opposed the most pro-life legislation proposed in the state, called the Heartbeat Bill, which would ban abortions once the baby's heartbeat is detected.
After the release of the first undercover video, Governor Kasich's office released a statement condemning Planned Parenthood's practices as “abhorrent.”
Paula Westwood, executive director of Right to Life of Greater Cincinnati, said the coalition's letter to the governor will reveal whether or not Kasich is truly pro-life. “Governor Kasich's decisive action to defund Planned Parenthood would disprove media reports indicating that protecting defenseless unborn human beings is not a primary focus for his administration.”
“Planned Parenthood is not needed for women's health care,” said Westwood. “All of its non-abortion health services are widely available from many community health centers.”
A bill is pending in the Ohio House of Representatives to defund the nation's largest abortion business. It even has bipartisan support, with Bill Patmon (D-Cleveland) and Margaret Conditt (R-Liberty Township) as lead sponsors, along with 20 co-sponsors.
“This bill is about ensuring our tax dollars are used for programs that help women every day in their healthcare needs – not abortions,” said Rep. Conditt.
The statewide organization Ohio Right to Life is not part of the coalition. Ohio Right to Life chose to work separately with the governor's office for a compromise on tax funding for Planned Parenthood. Ohio Right to Life is seeking removal of Medicaid reimbursements from the abortion giant, not complete defunding.
Hearings on the bill are expected to begin after September 30, when the legislature resumes session.
This past Saturday, thousands of pro-life citizens stood in protest outside Planned Parenthood facilities in over 300 locations in 47 states, as well as in several countries internationally. Rallies with crowds of Ohio citizens were conducted in 11 locations across the state.
Arkansas, Alabama, Louisiana, and New Hampshire have removed funding from Planned Parenthood. Twelve states, including Ohio under Attorney General Mike DeWine's leadership, have begun investigations into possible violations of state and federal laws by the abortion industry giant.
Signers include Ohio ProLife Action, Inc., Right to Life of Greater Cincinnati, Cleveland Right to Life, and Citizens for Community Values Action, the State Deputy of the Ohio State Council of the Knights of Columbus, the State Culture of Life Director of the Ohio State Council of the Knights of Columbus, and Principled Policy Consulting, LLC.
They are joined by over sixty other groups including Lake County Right to Life, Geauga County Right to Life, Life Issues Institute, Concerned Women for America of Ohio, Conservative Republican Leadership Committee, 40 Days for Life, American Heritage Girls, Christian Educators Association International, Citizens for Community Values Action, Institute for Principled Policy, H.E.L.P. Pro-life Apostolate, Foundation for Life, Northeast Ohio Values Voters, Association of Pro-Life Physicians and Personhood Ohio, Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Toledo, Created Equal, Advocates for Family, Life and Religious Freedom, Cleveland Lawyers for Life, Pregnancy Center East and West of Cincinnati, Mission America, Ohio Christian Alliance, Greater Cincinnati Young Adults for Life, Greene County Republican Central Committee, Greater Cincinnati Helpers of God's Precious Infants, LifeWorks Ohio, The RIDGE Project, Healthy Visions, Cleveland Prays for Life, Life Link, Marion Citizens for Life, LIFE Pregnancy Center, various Catholic and Protestant and Orthodox churches, various regional Knights of Columbus organizations including the Ohio Knights of Columbus, and various Right to Life groups in Ohio.
Note: This article was corrected from an earlier version, now noting that Ohio Right to Life is making a separate effort with the governor for a lesser goal and no longer stating that every Right to Life organization has signed the letter. The author apologizes for any confusion created and wishes to thank Barry Sheets for calling attention to those inaccuracies as well as providing additional information for the article.