By Danielle Craig
Southwest Ohio Region
Planned Parenthood of Southwest Ohio announced on Monday the closure of its Springdale and Western Hills facilities in the Southwest Ohio Area.
Relentless state and federal attacks against reproductive health care are forcing Planned Parenthood Southwest Ohio Region to close the two health centers in Cincinnati –– putting access to STI testing and treatment, birth control and cancer screenings at risk for thousands of patients in the region. Cincinnati has the highest rates of chlamydia and gonorrhea infection of any city in the state, and people in Hamilton County can’t afford to lose access to the services that the Springdale and Western Hills Health Centers provide.
State Senator Cecil Thomas (D-Cincinnati) said, “The Planned Parenthood clinic closures announced Monday will directly impact the health and well-being of thousands of people in our community – especially women of color. This is the result of the national and state GOP’s longtime efforts to methodically dismantle women’s reproductive rights. Their actions are putting lives at risk. These centers provide cancer screenings, birth control and regular check-ups to women of all backgrounds and of all means. Republicans’ obsession with controlling women’s bodies will continue to make it harder for women to receive the basic care they need to stay healthy.”
However, Stephanie Ranade Krider, vice president and executive director of Ohio Right to Life, said, “Today’s announcement is more encouraging news that Ohio women are simply walking away from Planned Parenthood and securing real healthcare elsewhere. Planned Parenthood’s abrupt closure of these facilities comes right after their recent refusal to comply with Title X requirements, a move that revealed their number one priority: protect their abortion business at all costs. It’s obvious that Planned Parenthood needs women more than women need them. With other options outnumbering Planned Parenthood 17 to 1, Ohio’s healthcare community stands ready to support all women in the greater Cincinnati area.”
Ohio politicians have passed 22 anti-women’s health measures in recent years, including laws to “defund” Planned Parenthood and cut critical programs on which Ohioans rely. Already nearly half of all health centers in Ohio that provided safe, legal abortion have shuttered since 2011.
This comes as the Trump administration has begun to enforce a gag rule intended to force Planned Parenthood to stop providing birth control, cancer screenings and STI testing through Title X –– the nation’s program for affordable birth control and other reproductive health care. Ohio has more than 730,000 patients in need of publicly-funded contraceptive services, and the state ranks 48th in the country for publicly-funded birth control and contraception, cancer screenings, and STI and pregnancy tests. This gag rule threatens access to health care for them and for millions of people across the country struggling to make ends meet.
Kersha Deibel, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood Southwest Ohio Region, said, “Cincinnati is the last place politicians should be forcing health centers to close. While we’ve been battling sky-high STI rates, politicians like Sen. Rob Portman, Rep. Steve Chabot and Governors. 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. For 90 years, people in Ohio have trusted Planned Parenthood to provide life-saving health care and education services. Planned Parenthood will not back down from this fight — our patients are too important.”