Nov 17, 2023 - News

Planned Parenthood to invest in Ohio following abortion amendment

Planning ahead. Photo: Bill Tompkins/Getty Images

Ohio's largest abortion services provider is looking to the future.

Driving the news: Planned Parenthood of Greater Ohio held a virtual town hall Wednesday to discuss the implications of last week's election.

What happened: Ohio voters adopted a state constitutional amendment guaranteeing a person's right to an abortion and other reproductive care up until fetal viability, which is usually about 23 to 24 weeks.

  • Ohio is the seventh state to protect abortion rights through a ballot measure since the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade last year.

What they're saying: Erica Wilson-Domer, CEO of Planned Parenthood of Greater Ohio, said the amendment will enable Planned Parenthood to make investments in staffing and facilities it has previously put off, including exploring adding facilities near the state's borders.

  • "It has been incredibly challenging to staff for abortion services and recruit providers to the state given the [previous] restrictions," Wilson-Domer said.
  • "We are incredibly hopeful with the passing of Issue 1 that it will be easier to recruit providers that want to come to Ohio knowing that reproductive rights have been enshrined in the constitution here."

Between the lines: Wilson-Domer said a major focus for Planned Parenthood will be providing services to out-of-state patients.

  • Ohio borders three states — Indiana, Kentucky and West Virginia — with abortion bans.
  • "We have an obligation and responsibility now with this right enshrined in Ohio to provide access not just to Ohioans but all of the people who are not able to access that," Wilson-Domer said.

The other side: Planned Parenthood could still face challenges from Republican state legislators intent on blocking abortion access.

  • Senate President Matt Huffman initially alluded to a "revolving door" of repeal efforts by the GOP.
  • Rep. Jennifer Gross (R-West Chester) has proposed a bill that would take authority away from the courts on laws involving abortion and put it in the hands of the Ohio legislature, which is currently controlled by Republicans.

Yes, but: House Speaker Jason Stephens denounced the bill, and Huffman has backtracked on his statement.

  • Even Gov. Mike DeWine, who fought heavily against the amendment, has promised to accept the results, saying he doesn't think "the timing is right to go back on the ballot for an issue like this."

What's next: Planned Parenthood said it will continue to operate under current law where abortion is legal for up to 22 weeks and will be monitoring how abortion rights-related court cases that began before the amendment vote play out.

Go deeper: What Ohio's abortion vote means for 2024 elections

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