CINCINNATI – Planned Parenthood of Ohio is disputing a state report that it hired companies to dispose of fetuses in landfills, but the organization approved of the state's finding that it discovered no evidence it ever sold fetal tissue.
When Attorney General Mike DeWine announced findings of a state investigation Friday, DeWine said it found that companies hired by all three Planned Parenthood affiliates in Ohio violated state law by dumping fetuses in landfills.
Planned Parenthood of Ohio called DeWine's report "inflammatory and false." In a statement, it implied that it never knowingly sent fetal tissues to landfills. The statement from Stephanie Kight, President and CEO, reads in part:
“As we have always maintained, and as the Attorney General has now confirmed, the original accusations that Planned Parenthood 'sold fetal tissue' were completely unfounded and untrue.
“These new allegations by the Attorney General that we are improperly disposing of fetal tissue are flat-out false. Planned Parenthood handles medical tissue like any other quality health care provider. Our agreements with vendors all require them to follow state law, and dispose of tissue accordingly. If they are not, then I will take swift action."
Kight condemned DeWine's announcement as part of a campaign by Gov. John Kasich's administration to "eliminate access to abortion in Ohio."
DeWine did not name the companies hired by Planned Parenthood in his announcement.
The findings turned up in an investigation into whether Planned Parenthood affiliates in Cincinnati, Bedford Heights or Columbus were selling fetal tissue in violation of state law. Accusations arose after anti-abortion activists released videos they said showed Planned Parenthood leaders negotiated the sale of aborted fetuses.
“The investigation did not find that fetal tissue was sold by Planned Parenthood affiliates in Ohio,” DeWine wrote.
Cincinnati has one Planned Parenthood clinic on Auburn Avenue in Mount Auburn. The state has threatened to stop it from conducting surgical abortions.
On the matter of disposing of fetuses, DeWine said state law requires a “fetus shall be disposed of in a humane manner.
“Disposing of aborted fetuses from an abortion by sending them to a landfill is callous and completely inhumane,” DeWine said. “It is important the public be aware that these practices are taking place at these Ohio facilities.”
Kight attacked Kasich in her statement, saying:
“This is an administration that has done everything possible to eliminate access to abortion in Ohio --- secretly writing laws, working to close health centers, and even appointing the head of Ohio Right to Life to the state medical board. We are seriously concerned that this report is not the result of meaningful investigation, but instead yet another attack on women’s access to health care in the state of Ohio intended to end our ability to continue to provide safe, legal abortion.”
Kight said Kasich’s administration has passed "increasingly severe restrictions on abortion" that have led to the shuttering of more than one-third of Ohio health centers that provide abortion.
Cincinnati's Planned Parenthood clinic recently got a state waiver allowing it to continue surgical abortion services, or Cincinnati would have become the largest metropolitan area in the country without abortion access.