Republican candidate for President and current Ohio Governor John Kasich signed into law a bill Sunday which whould prohibit Ohio from contracting for health services with Planned Parenthood or any other organization that performs or promotes abortions. The law will prevent more than $1 million in funding from the state health department from going to the nonprofit to fund programs such as HIV testing, health screenings and prevention of violence against women. Kasich signed the bill a day after finishing fifth in South Carolina’s primary.
Kasich was repeatedly asked about the issue of Planned Parenthood at his town halls across New Hampshire throughout the summer, fall and winter, and consistently told audiences that he doesn’t believe government funding should go to the organization because he says they “discredited” themselves, and adds that he favors funding for women’s health through other means.
That money helps support screenings for breast cancer, STD testing, programs working to prevent violence against women, and more. State and federal laws already prohibit taxpayer dollars from going to fund abortions, with exceptions for rape, incest, and the life of the mother. Planned Parenthood immediately fired back to the news, as the organization’s president Cecile Richards claimed the bill will “have devastating consequences for women across Ohio.”
It’s clear Kasich has no regard for women’s health or lives, and will stop at nothing to block health care for the tens of thousands of Ohioans who rely on Planned Parenthood.”
Governor Kasich’s spokesman Joe Andrews defended the Governor, saying he has been a strong advocate for women’s health.
The fact is that Governor Kasich has been a strong advocate for women’s health issues by helping 260,000 women gain access to health care coverage, pledging a 3-1 state match for a fund for breast and cervical cancer screenings, strengthening programs for sexual assault prevention, funding rape crisis centers for the first time in Ohio’s history, helping more women get access to childcare and protecting women from human trafficking.”
As the bill moved to Kasich’s office while he campaigned across South Carolina, the governor’s events were interrupted by protesters in Bluffton, Fort Mill, and Mt. Pleasant, who each shouted, “Governor Kasich, why do you hate women’s health?” Many Republicans have said Planned Parenthood should be defunded, after controversial videos featuring group officials purportedly discussing the sale of fetal tissue surfaced last summer. The Harris County District Attorney’s office announced that Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast had been cleared in the two-month-long investigation.
Last year, Kasich also said that he supports a state bill that would ban abortions for Down syndrome. Critics argue that the bill violates the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade ruling, which declared that women can choose to get an abortion at any point until the fetus is viable and that the choice to get an abortion should be a private matter between the patient and her doctor, not determined by the government.