Governor Kasich today signed legislation targeting HIV Programs, Sex Ed, Infant Mortality Prevention, and Violence Prevention Programs for Thousands
Washington, DC -- Today, Ohio Governor John Kasich signed a bill that will block access to care for thousands of Ohioans who rely on Planned Parenthood. Kasich signed the bill despite overwhelming opposition from public health experts and Ohioans in Columbus and online. Kasich has a long track record of advancing an extremist, anti-abortion agenda and has signed 17 anti-women’s health measures.
Statement from Cecile Richards, President of Planned Parenthood Action Fund:
“This legislation will have devastating consequences for women across Ohio. John Kasich is proudly eliminating care for expectant mothers and newborns; he is leaving thousands without vital STD and HIV testing, slashing a program to fight domestic violence, and cutting access to essential, basic health care. Kasich has already enacted 17 measures restricting women’s health in Ohio, shutting down nearly half the abortion providers in the state. Legislation like this has devastated women, men and young people in other states — we saw it lead to an HIV epidemic in Indiana, and at least 100,000 women inducing their own abortions, without a medical provider, in Texas. 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.”
Statement from Amelia Hayes, Managing Director of Public Affairs, Planned Parenthood Advocates of Ohio:
“Gov. Kasich should be ashamed for claiming he is invested in the fight against infant mortality while simultaneously slashing one of the best programs in the state for young mothers and their children. It is a sad day when the desire to score political points overtakes the commitment to the health and safety of Ohioans.
“While this legislation will irreparably harm the lives of women, men and families across the state, Planned Parenthood will continue to serve them in every way we possibly can. We will come to work tomorrow and every day after ready to do what we do best – provide affordable, respectful, high quality health care to Ohioans.”
This legislation slashes Healthy Moms, Healthy Babies – a Planned Parenthood program that helps prevent infant mortality – despite Ohio having the thirdhighest infant mortality rate for African Americans in the nation. It is the largest mortality prevention program in the state, having served over 2,800 new or expectant mothers in the last year alone. Mahoning County Health Commissioner Pat Sweeney said: “They [Planned Parenthood] are very active and very effective. They specifically target women in the most at-risk population and work with those women to help with the significant issues of housing and food and employment, really significant issues, not just their health care.” Sweeney continued, “It’s going to be a really hard blow to the community.”
This bill also targets programs that provided over 47,000 STD tests and more than 3,600 HIV tests. Jessica Sherman from the AIDS Resource Center testified against the bill saying: “We need to increase the number of cancer and STI screenings and people on birth control. If you want to improve health, then cutting this funding would be devastating and would be a giant step backward. When you cut funding, you say that women don’t deserve this reproductive health access.” Politicians have gone as far as to claim that Planned Parenthood patients could access reproductive health care at “alternative providers” such as food banks and dentists.