Back in February we discussed Attorney General Mike DeWine’s decision to join six other states in a lawsuit challenging the Obama Administration’s rules on contraceptive coverage in health insurance plans.  It seemed, as Eric suggested, that DeWine was pursuing the lawsuit for personal and political reasons and not at the behest of Ohio’s citizens.  Records received by Plunderbund seem to support Eric’s claim.

I asked the AG’s office for any records showing communication that might have impacted Attorney General DeWine’s decision to participate in the lawsuit, as well as the responses to his decision. The records I received show that no one from Ohio contacted DeWine’s office about contraception coverage before he joined the lawsuit.    The only communication came from people in the Nebraska Attorney General’s office who were spearheading the lawsuit.

This obviously makes it difficult for DeWine to make any claims he joined this lawsuit at the request of his fellow Ohioans.  And judging by the number of negative letters he received after announcing the lawsuit, many Ohioans are pretty angry about the decision.

To be fair, a few of the responses DeWine’s office received were supportive of his decision, and most of these were polite.  Many supporters mentioned being Catholic and the First Amendment and religious freedom.  But some, like this one, got a little more personal with their reasons for supporting the lawsuit:

How come Ohio isn’t joining the other state fighting all these manidates (sic) the dictator is piling on!!!

Tax payer should not be forced to pay for birth control , and that is just where it will land in our pocket books!!!

this president is insane and he must be defeated every stunbling (sic) block we can throw at him the better!!!

He always twists the truth to his advantage, he is a disgrace to America

Ah yes, the old “our President is insane and a disgrace to America” excuse for involving the state in another lawsuit.   I’m really not sure why Mike didn’t put that one in his press release announcing the decision.

While there were some responses showing negative feelings toward the President, the bulk of the negativity was directed at Mr. DeWine.  The 80 pages of records provided by the AG’s office reveal most calls and emails came from people who were not happy with the decision. And they were not shy about telling DeWine why.

One of my personal favorites started like this:

You are an idiot and I would love to tell you why

It continues:

 instead of concentrating on more important things like JOBS and the ECONOMY you want to stop contraception and use my precious tax dollars to do this?

Get on with the job the people of ohio voted for (well, I didn’t obviously vote for you)

I thought you understood our constitution and understand separation of church and state….keep your male hands off women’s bodies.

Other people contacting the office had similar points to make.  I’ve included some excerpts below.

  • Leave women’s bodies and choices alone!
  • Stay out of my uterus.
  • Stop trying to destroy the separation of church and state and do the job you were elected to do -enforcing the laws of the state of Ohio.  No one elected you to force others to adhere to your personal beliefs
  • This is not an attack on religon but you and your party are certainly attacking women and our rights to decide when we will conceive children.
  • Tell me, have you and your spouse ever used birth control. Now I’m certain you won’t answer that question because it is personal…well sir, you don’t get to make that decision for every other woman.
  • This is pure political grandstanding. I believe the only religious freedom under attack is the freedom to not have a government controlled by the religious views of others.
  • You are an embarrassment to our state.
  • The Republican party once known as the economic party is now known as the religious right party.
  • This is the same attempt to force Mike Dewine’s religion beliefs down the throats of his fellow citizens that we saw when he was a U.S. senator.
  • Your constituents do NOT agree with you! You will NOT hold elected office again if this the kind of politics you choose to play.
  • Be a true leader & protect the religious rights of all Ohio citizens. Please withdraw Ohio from the lawsuit.
  • Mr. DeWine should remember that he works for the people of Ohio, not the Roman Catholic Church.
  • when i think of mike dewine i will think of ignorance… i will never vote for you after this display of ignorance.
  • You say you are for less government in peoples lives, so get out of womens. Focus on fraud in insurance and health care areas. work for the people of Ohio not your small, petty personal issues.
  • It would be wise to take a poll of all the Catholic women who use contraception…yes, I am one of them and I know I am not in the miniority!
  • Rethink your position…this is the twenty-first century!
  • Your office is NOT a bully pulpit for your personal views. You are by your actions harming the people you are sworn to serve.
  • Please stop opposing a woman’s access to basic medical care
  • I would like to know how much money you estimate this will cost. I am also interested where, in the Ohio Constitution, the Ohio AG is appointed as the council for religious organizations.
  • I, as a taxpayer want you office to provide me wtih an estimate of how much this politically driven suit will cost the taxpayers of Ohio.
  • I’m Catholic. Get out of the Birth Control debate.
  • Stop It. It’s all for Political gain
  • Religious liberty is not being violated. Birth control is a part of our everyday lives in the 21st century.
  • I am so sorry to see you have done this in the name of Ohio when it is not.
  • It is not the job of the state to protect the church. If the church would like, I’m sure they could file their own lawsuit.
  • Please stop wasting tax payer money on frivolous lawsuits on behalf of religious organizations.
  • Dewine: For decades you have been over the top. Now with your blithering germane to the radical evangelical Santorum you have hit a new low.
  • This has nothing to do with religious freedom.
  • Why are you wasting your time and making yourself and the State of Ohio a laughing stock by joinoing this lawsuit.

One theme found in many of the responses is that DeWine is not representing Ohio or Ohioans in this lawsuit, only himself. And the records we received from the AG’s office – or rather the lack of records from before the lawsuit – seem to support that claim.

It’s still unclear whether the move to join this lawsuit was purely political on the part of DeWine – or if his personal faith had a role in the decision as well. Either way, it is clear many Ohioans support President Obama’s health care law and they are angry with Mike DeWine for getting the state involved in a lawsuit that so clearly does NOT represent their own beliefs.