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Graphic by Carissa Woytach

November 16, 2015

Congressional battle over Planned Parenthood reaches campus

By Becky Raspe

The Ohio Senate approved legislation to defund Planned Parenthood in the state on Oct. 21 in a 23-10 vote.
Senate Bill 214 was sent to the state House for consideration and aims to defund the 28 Planned Parenthood sites in the state.

Three of the facilities are in Cleveland and one is only a 14-minute bus ride from Cleveland State University.
Campus organizations including the Student Feminist Coalition and Cleveland State Unite for Reproductive and Gender Equity (CSURGE), find this is not the correct move considering that students who can’t afford and don’t have health insurance frequently utilize Planned Parenthood facilities and services.

Eileen Guttman, a supervisor at the Cleveland State Health and Wellness Center, stressed it’s not a good idea to deprive students of these services.

“This decision removes a very large health care provider,” Guttman said. “It’s targeting a population that is already economically challenged.”
Guttman mentioned that the health clinic at Cleveland State could be an alternative, but only if a student has health insurance.

“We provide low cost to free health care to students and can refer students to the cheapest place they can go,” Guttman said. “But, this can affect students who don’t have insurance. We can’t do a sliding scale of costs like Planned Parenthood does.”

This means that at Planned Parenthood costs are typically based on the household income of the individual needing health care.

Marissa Pappas, a junior majoring in non-profit administration and Women’s Studies and president of the Cleveland State’s chapter of Unite for Reproductive and Gender Equity (CSURGE), agreed with Guttman that this was the wrong move to make in terms of women’s health.

“I’m incredibly dismayed by the defunding of Ohio’s Planned Parenthood, but not surprised,” Pappas said. “Our state legislature is a Republican super-majority and any anti-choice legislation is likely to pass.”

Pappas foresees this decision will have a disproportionately negative effect on the younger generation and low-income patients, which identifies many Cleveland State students.

“Finding affordable quality health care elsewhere is difficult to access without running into long wait times, greater expenses and healthcare requirements,” Pappas said.

Though low-cost and free women’s health care will be hard to come after Planned Parenthood is defunded, Pappas had suggestions for students who seek the services that Planned Parenthood provides.

“The Health and Wellness Services on campus is a good start,” Pappas said. “Worst case scenario, they will refer you somewhere else that can meet your needs and ability.” \

Pappas also suggested that if students need an abortion, they could go to Preterm — an abortion clinic located at 12000 Shaker Blvd. in Cleveland.

Along with safe abortion care, Preterm offers similar services to that of Planned Parenthood, including pregnancy and post-termination counseling, pregnancy testing, emergency contraceptives, birth control and adoption planning.

According to its website, 90 percent of patients receive financial assistance.

Nicole Zollos, a sophomore majoring in graphic design who attended the counter-protest against pro-life organizations that were on campus recently, said she believes the defunding will have adverse effects on the health of women students.

“Students who are looking for cheap, discreet methods to be reproductively responsible, will now be forced to potentially give up preventative measures altogether,” Zollos said. “Not everyone can afford a gynecological visit every few months, nor does a normal clinic provide as much discretion as PlannedParenthood does for cases where the woman wants to keep it a secret from other household members.”

Students who want to take action can contact their local senator with phone calls, letters, and emails or join campus efforts like CSURGE and the Student Feminist Coalition.

“The only thing we can do is get involved,” Zollos said. “If no one tries to stand up for Planned Parenthood, then the people who voted against the funding win.”

“Visibility and standing with Planned Parenthood are the best things anyone can do.”

To join a discussion about this story, visit The Cleveland Stater on Facebook.

Return to The Cleveland Stater Home Page.


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