UPDATED on July 17, 2019: 

From NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio Executive Director Kellie Copeland: “Rep. Candice Keller is the executive director of the Community Pregnancy Center in Middletown. According to her JLEC filing, she makes a salary of more than $50,000 from the job. Her agency stands to financially benefit from the Ohio budget allocation for the Parenting and Pregnancy Program.

“Will Rep. Keller either abstain from voting on the state budget bill that could benefit her personally, or will she publicly pledge that her agency will neither seek nor accept state funds?”

Other legislators frequently abstain from votes that are connected to their jobs or business ownings. Sen. Matt Dolan does not vote on bills regarding professional sports because of his family’s partial ownership of the Cleveland Indians and Sen. Vernon Sykes abstains from budget and other votes because of his employment with Kent State. In past sessions, Sen. Frank LaRose and Sen. Capri Cafaro also abstained because of family connections to businesses impacted by state programs.

Columbus — The updated version of the Ohio state operating budget now includes $7,500,000 allocated for fake women’s health centers.

NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio Executive Director Kellie Copeland said: “People facing unintended pregnancies should be treated with dignity and respect and they deserve to be given medically accurate health information as they consider their options. Unfortunately, that is not what happens when they visit fake clinics. These so-called clinics routinely lie to their patients and provide them with medically inaccurate information to frighten them. These centers often say that having an abortion can cause mental health issues, breast cancer or the loss of fertility. These claims are blatantly false. That is why they should not receive one penny of taxpayer funding. It is unconscionable that Republicans are using the state budget to divert $7,500,000 in funding meant for temporary assistance for needy families to these anti-abortion organizations—especially when you consider that State Rep. Candice Keller runs one such center, and several other legislators sit on the boards of other fake clinics. These funds should go directly to needy families, or to medically qualified and ethical health care providers, not GOP political cronies.”

Earlier today, government watchdog organization Campaign for Accountability released the following statement, following up on their 2018 complaint to then-Attorney General Mike DeWine. CfA Counsel Alice Huling said: “Crisis pregnancy centers like Elizabeth’s New Life Center and Heartbeat of Toledo deliberately misrepresent their purpose to mislead pregnant women. People looking for abortion information online are often led to the websites of these fake clinics, which don’t support or provide abortion care despite purposefully using deceptive and confusing language on their advertisements and websites to obscure this fact. Not only are these tactics immoral, but they also may be illegal. CPCs that deliberately mislead women should not be eligible to receive taxpayer dollars. We urge Ohio legislators and Gov. DeWine to remove this funding from House Bill 166 until a full investigation can be conducted.”

More from the Campaign for Accountability: https://campaignforaccountability.org/ohio-legislature-poised-to-allocate-5-million-to-deceptive-crisis-pregnancy-centers-despite-cfas-call-for-investigation/

Additional Background

Republican legislators added an amendment to the 2015 and 2017 state operating budgets to fund fake women’s health centers. Each two-year budget included $1,000,000 that was originally designated for the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program. The TANF program provides temporary financial assistance for pregnant women and families with one or more dependent children. TANF provides financial assistance to help pay for food, shelter, utilities, and other non-medical expenses. Instead of providing this critical aid, some of these TANF dollars are now given to fake women’s health centers.


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