John Kasich Defunds Planned Parenthood As The Right Continues To Attack Women’s Health
The GOP continues its war on women’s health as GOP presidential candidate and governor of Ohio John Kasich signed a bill yesterday aimed at defunding Planned Parenthood, despite pressure from public health advocates, Ohio voters, and multiple Ohio editorial boards. The bill aims to strip funding for the organization by redirecting $1.3 million in public health grants away from groups that “promote abortion.” Kasich signed this bill, despite the fact that more than 90 percent of Planned Parenthood’s activity is preventive care, including lifesaving cancer screenings, birth control, and more. According to Planned Parenthood the programs targeted in the bill helped serve almost 2,800 new or expecting mothers, provide more than 47,000 STD tests and 3,600 HIV tests, and provide information to young people and women about healthy relationships. The reduction in funding means Planned Parenthood clinics in Ohio will have less funding for health screenings and prenatal care, which is particularly troubling for Ohio, a state that already has a high infant mortality rate among African Americans.
This is not the only instance of Kasich attacking women’s health. During his time as governor, Kasich has signed every single anti-choice bill that has come across his desk—17 restrictions in total—including restrictive anti-choice bills that led to the closing of half of Ohio’s abortion clinics.
Kasich isn’t the only one in the GOP to attack women’s health. Kasich’s competitors for the GOP nomination, Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio have vowed to defund Planned Parenthood. And even though Donald Trump has said he supports Planned Parenthood, he still would block women from accessing reproductive care and safe, legal abortions at the organization.
Women’s access to care is also being undermined beyond the GOP presidential race. Currently there are two cases in the Supreme Court docket that will significantly impact women’s health. Whole Women’s Health v. Cole will address two significant restrictions, passed by the Texas legislature, on Texas women’s access to legal abortions. These restrictions—which are already enacted in Texas—further undermine Texas women’s ability to make decisions about their lives and health, especially since there are already only 17 clinics open in the massive state of Texas. If the Texas legislature’s restrictions are upheld, the door would be open to states passing any law to restrict abortion access just so long as they say it’s related to women’s health. And Zubik v. Burwell has the potential to restrict women’s access to contraception, going even further than Hobby Lobby v. Burwell in 2014. Birth control is critical to women’s health, equality, and economic security. Despite what the plaintiffs in Zubik think, the facts are that women, not bosses, should be able to make these personal health care decisions and employers should not be able to impose their religious beliefs on their employees.
BOTTOM LINE: Defunding women’s health and restricting their access to care isn’t just irresponsible, it’s counterproductive. We need leaders who will promote access to health care for all women, but the GOP presidential candidates are instead defunding programs and blocking women from care.
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