Washington, D.C. – This weekend, dozens of Planned Parenthood patients, supporters and activists protested Governor Kasich’s signing of a bill on Sunday that blocks access to health care for Ohioans across the state. Kasich has a long track record of advancing an extremist, anti-abortion agenda and has signed 17 anti-women’s health measures.
The activists gathered around a “Dr. John Kasich” impersonator, handing out fake birth control and giving unsound medical advice, in an effort to make clear that the bill Kasich signed Sunday is not for the betterment of Ohioans, but part of a political ploy. Local news affiliates were present; the signing was largely covered as a controversial attack that revealed Kasich is not as reasonable as he portrays himself to be on the campaign trail.
This bill targets Planned Parenthood programs that, in the last year, provided over 47,000 STD tests, more than 3,600 HIV tests, and served nearly 2,800 new or expectant mothers through “Healthy Moms, Healthy Babies” – a program that aims to prevent infant mortality, given Ohio has the third highest infant mortality rate for African Americans in the nation. It blocks access to lifesaving cancer screenings, domestic violence education through the Violence Against Women Act, andmuch-needed sex education for youth in foster care and the juvenile detention system. Public health departments have raised major concerns about this bill.
Planned Parenthood spokespersons and Ohio public health officials can be available as needed.
Fact Check: John Kasich has decimated women’s health care in Ohio
FACT: Governor Kasich cut funding for Planned Parenthood in Ohio in 2013, and has pledged to sign another piece of legislation that would cut even more funding. Planned Parenthood health centers served over 80,000 Ohio patients in 2013, providing contraceptive services to over 66,000 patients and STI tests to over 105,000 patients.
Governor Kasich said Republicans should “fight like crazy” to end funding for Planned Parenthood. [Newsmax, 9/28/15]
Ohio clinics aren’t prepared for the patients who would lose care if Planned Parenthood lost funding: The Telegraph-Forum writes, “Claire Boettler, president of the Ohio Public Health Association, is concerned that city and county health departments, free clinics and pregnancy resource centers won't have the capacity to care for thousands of additional women. Her group's more-than 600 members include physicians, nurses and health educators in local health departments, universities and nonprofits. ‘For example, women currently enrolled in the BCCP (Breast and Cervical Cancer Project) program may have a longer waiting period for an appointment that could result in later stage diagnosis of breast or cervical cancer, and women served through the MAI (Minority AIDS Initiative) program may temporarily lose access to critical treatment medications necessary to keep their disease in check," Boettler wrote to lawmakers considering the cuts.’” [Bucyrus Telegraph-Forum, 10/30/15]
Cuts would affect funding for infant mortality prevention programs: “Opponents of the Ohio bill are particularly concerned about the funds for Planned Parenthood’s infant mortality prevention programs; the state has one of the highest infant mortality rates in the country. ‘I know it seems like a smaller dollar amount, but we’re talking about really the most vulnerable population.’” [New Republic, 10/21/15]
FACT: Governor Kasich is no moderate, he is an extreme abortion opponent.
Politico: On abortion, Kasich is no moderate: “Laws signed by Kasich prohibit almost all abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy, mandate ultrasounds before a woman can get an abortion and require abortion clinics to establish formal written agreements with local hospitals about emergency care — a provision that has been repeatedly modified to be even more restrictive and make it harder for clinics to comply.”
Mother Jones: “Michael Gonidakis, president of Ohio Right to Life….adds, ‘There is no candidate running for president who has done more for the pro-life movement than John Kasich.’"
The Columbus Dispatch: “In 2011, Kasich signed into law a bill that banned late-term abortions. The law prohibits abortions after 20 weeks unless a doctor determines the fetus could not live outside the womb. He also has signed a measure requiring an ultrasound of anyone seeking an abortion. The Ohio Department of Health reports that the vast majority of the 23,216 abortions performed in Ohio in 2013 took place less than nine weeks into pregnancy. The state has said 173 abortions after 21 weeks were recorded in 2013….Gonidakis said he does not doubt that Kasich is with his group on the abortion issue, and he said that under Kasich as governor, the state has seen ‘historic lows in the number of abortions. Whether John Kasich makes it to the finish line in this race,” he said, ‘his body of work in Ohio on the pro-life movement speaks for itself.’”
FACT: Women’s access to health care shrunk under Gov. Kasich
Mother Jones:“Since Kasich entered office in 2011, he has enacted 16 anti-abortion measures. Some directly restrict abortion access, such as the 20-week late-term ban that he signed six months after entering office. Others limit the work of abortion providers. For example, in 2013 he signed the state's budget bill, which included one provision that prohibits state-funded rape crisis counselors from referring women to abortion services and another that stripped Planned Parenthood of an estimated $1.4 million in federal family-planning dollars. The measures have had drastic consequences for access to abortion and medical care for Ohio women:
Under Gov. Kasich’s administration, nearly half of Ohio’s abortion clinics closed.
Mother Jones: During Kasich's time in office, the number of abortion providers in the state has dropped from 16 to eight.”
Toledo Blade: “But the law had the effect of shutting down nearly half of Ohio’s abortion clinics, which is exactly what lawmakers intended it to do. Many abortion providers can’t get transfer agreements because hospitals face intense pressure from anti-abortion activists to deny them.”
Think Progress:In terms of the areas where high number of clinics have recently been shuttered, Ohio ranks second only to Texas. And Ohio isn’t stopping there. Aside from the proposed budget, lawmakers have also been advancing a 20-week abortion ban; the state senate approved that legislation just last week. For years, reproductive rights groups have been warning that Ohio is becoming one of the worst states for abortion access. At the end of last week, the Plain Dealer’s editorial board also sounded the alarm: “These draconian rules aimed at closing Ohio’s abortion clinics appear to be a thinly veiled effort to get before the U.S. Supreme Court a challenge to Roe v.Wade, the case that legalized abortion,” the newspaper wrote in reference to the proposed budget bill”.
FACT: Ohio women are driving to Michigan to access abortion.
Toledo Blade: “Michigan abortion clinics see an influx of Ohioans...Ms. Chilean said she began to notice women coming from Ohio to the Michigan clinics about two years ago when Ohio law changed and banned abortions after 22 weeks.”
CBS News: “Both sides agree that one factor in Michigan's upsurge in abortions is an influx of women coming from Ohio, where several abortion clinics recently closed. According to Michigan's health department, abortions for nonresidents jumped from 708 in 2013 to 1,318 in 2014.”
FACT: Thousands of Ohioans could lose access to care.
“The indictments should cause politicians to back away from an anti-abortion group that will stop at nothing to attack Planned Parenthood. Gov. John Kasich of Ohio is running for president on a platform of good governance and common sense. The campaign against Planned Parenthood is anathema to these principles, and if a bill to defund the organization reaches his desk, he should veto it.”
“Ohio could actually risk defunding its public health departments in the process of trying to defund Planned Parenthood. This would affect everything from health inspections to birth and death certificates, not to mention sexual and reproductive health care.”
“In 2015, the money Ohio is proposing to strip from Planned Parenthood paid for 47,137 sexually transmitted infection tests, 3,620 HIV tests, and Violence Against Women Act education programs, and supported 2,780 patients in the state’s infant mortality reduction program. In two counties with high poverty – Mahoning and Trumbull – Planned Parenthood has run the state’s infant mortality reduction program for two decades. To health advocates, the results of taking those resources away could be catastrophic.”
“There is growing evidence that undermining abortion providers like Planned Parenthood has harmed low-income women’s access to reproductive health services.”
“...abortion foes call it theincrementalist approach. Instead of passing controversial bills that try to reverse Roe v. Wade, the plan calls for a series of laws that undermine abortion rights and ultimately, as they add up, force the 1973 Supreme Court ruling to collapse.”
“The bill was created after the attack videos aired last summer, and used them as the main evidence for defunding the organization, even after Ohio’s attorney generalcleared the state’s Planned Parenthood clinicsof any unlawful acts.
“Women’s lives are at stake, and it seems to me that they’re lives and their bodies are being used as a bargaining chip, as a political bargaining chip,” Winant said.
“HB 294 … instead target its “Healthy Moms, Healthy Babies” program that aims to prevent infant mortality...Ohio has one of the highest infant mortality rates in the country, with especially elevated rates among Black and Hispanic infants, according to theKaiser Family Foundation.”