Columbus –Today, Assistant Senate Democratic Leader Charleta B. Tavares (D – Columbus) voted against Senate Bill 214, legislation aimed at defunding Planned Parenthood centers throughout Ohio. Planned Parenthood centers are primarily located in medically underserved areas, and a loss of funding would take away the only option for health care services for many Ohioans. 

“Twenty-six of the twenty-eight Planned Parenthood centers are located in medically underserved areas,” said Senator Tavares.” “The health care system in Ohio simply does not have enough providers to absorb all of the patients currently served by Planned Parenthood. We are placing personal politics ahead of the wellbeing of women across the state of Ohio.”

Senator Tavares also spoke against the committee process and treatment of the opponents who came to testify against Senate Bill 214. Senate Bill 214 was placed in the Government Oversight and Reform committee where there are eleven male members and only one female. There are nine Republicans on the committee and only three Democrats. Opponents who came to testify in committee were subject to controversial time constraints.

“The Government Oversight and Reform committee is not even representative of our legislature, let alone Ohio,” stated Senator Tavares. “Limiting opponents to two minutes to speak while placing no time limits on those who are in favor of SB 214 is just another example of how some members only want to hear from people who think, look, and believe like they do. The committee process has made a mockery of policy-making in Ohio and is a black mark on the legislative process.” 

Senator Tavares also pointed out that Senate Bill 214 would negatively affect African Americans and other minority communities throughout Ohio. 

“African American women ages 15-24 only make up 1% of Ohio’s population but accounted for 21% of chlamydia infections and 25% of the gonorrhea infections in 2012. Planned Parenthood is a well-known provider for STD screenings and wellness checks in low-income communities. The legislature is once again ignoring the needs of our minority communities in order to pursue a hyper partisan agenda without any regard to the damage done to our most vulnerable populations,” concluded Tavares. 

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