Officials with Planned Parenthood Southwestern Ohio today announced that the organization will close two area clinics in Springdale and Western Hills that provide birth control, STI screenings and cancer tests due to state and federal regulations.
The two locations slated for closure do not provide abortions. Their final day of operations will be Sept. 20 There are five other Planned Parenthood clinics in the region.
According to Planned Parenthood, the closures are due to a series of state and federal laws aimed at wresting public funding for health services away from organizations that also provide abortions.
Those include a 2016 law signed by then-Ohio Gov. John Kasich that stripped such state funding for STI and HIV testing, training for women about healthy relationships and infant mortality reduction measures from Planned Parenthood. A three-judge panel on the federal 6th Circuit Court declared that law unconstitutional, but the full court in March reversed that decision.
Another blow came in August when the federal government began enforcing new rules for its so-called Title X funds, which provide money for birth control and other reproductive health care. Those rules include stipulations that providers using the funds cannot discuss abortion with patients and that clinics receiving the funds have to be in separate facilities from those providing abortions. That has hit Planned Parenthood hard, the organization says, despite the fact that it serves roughly 40 percent of the patients who receive services through Title X. Planned Parenthood has indicated it will drop out of the Title X program over the rules.
Conservatives in the Ohio General Assembly and officials in the Trump administration say the respective rules are meant to keep public dollars from funding abortion. Officials with Planned Parenthood, meanwhile, say they are about blocking women's access to the procedure.
“Cincinnati is the last place politicians should be forcing health centers to close," Planned Parenthood Southwest Ohio President and CEO Kersha Deibel said in a statement. "While we’ve been battling sky-high STI rates, politicians like Sen. Rob Portman, Rep. Steve Chabot, and Govs. Mike DeWine and John Kasich have spent years relentlessly working to chip away at Ohioans’ reproductive health care. This is the world they want to see: one where women lose access to birth control, where information about how to access abortion is held hostage, and where, if you don’t have money, it’s almost impossible to access an STI test or a cancer screening."