Maybe John Kasich learned from his Bible studies that God created Man in His image first, then fashioned women as an afterthought from a rib bone. Guess he had one to spare. Whatever his psychological shortcomings, and there are many, Gov. Kasich seems to have it out for today’s collective uteri. His latest TV ad is an attempt to convince Ohio’s women otherwise.
As a general rule, Kasich surrounds himself with men, as he did when he signed the biggest budget bill in Ohio history, a bill that severely limited women’s reproductive access. Other examples of Kasich’s disrespect for women can be found throughout his office and administration. Not only does he pay his male staffers 56% more than his female staffers, his cabinet is packed with men, and the few women who did make the cut ended up at small agencies. Kasich defended this by saying his “wife makes all the minor decisions.”
So when a new TV ad proclaiming how much “John Boehner’s best golfing buddy forever” had done for women in his three short years as governor, Ohio Democrats, not surprisingly, erupted, as did other voices whose job it is to monitor and defend health rights for women. Kasich’s campaign ad called “A Better Prescription for Women,” features a female doctor touting Kasich’s big accomplishments: increased funding for cancer screenings and more Buckeye women covered by healthcare. The ad fails to mention that the featured speaker is an eye doctor now employed by the Ohio Department of Health following the collapse of a healthcare company she once ran.
Upset at the extent to which women have not been treated well by Kasich, it wasn’t long before the aging Wall Street banker was taking flak for just how insensitive he’s been to women. Dr. Alice Epitropoulos, featured in the Kasich campaign spot, claims that the Kasich Administration’s policies are favorable to women’s health. An ODP spokesman called that assertion completely misleading. “What the Kasich campaign did not disclose in its ad was that, regardless of the stethoscope she is wearing, Dr. Epitropoulos is not a general practitioner, nor does she practice women’s health. Instead, she is a registered Republican, a Kasich contributor, and an eye surgeon,” wrote ODP’s Meredith Tucker Tuesday. Anticipating the avalanche of rightful indignation and anger, Team Kasich disabled commenting on the video.
“In just his first term, Governor Kasich packed the State Medical Board with anti-choice leaders, fought in federal court to block women from getting insurance coverage for contraceptive care, placed a gag order on rape crisis centers, blocked public hospitals from arranging required transfer agreements with women’s health clinics, and made it harder for Planned Parenthood, the most successful organization that provides breast and cervical cancer screenings, from getting state funding,” Meredith Tucker, an ODP spokesman, said today. “Regardless of Kasich’s misleading ad, Ohioans are well aware that 100,000 women who now have access to health care in Ohio is due to President Obama’s Affordable Care Act, a law that Governor Kasich adamantly opposed during his 2010 campaign.”
More floggings for Kasich came from Ohio NARAL Executive Director Kellie Copeland, who issued the harshest critique of the Kasich spot. “Today Governor John Kasich’s re-election campaign released a new television commercial that claims that ‘Kasich Works for Women’,” Copeland said. “This commercial neglects to mention Kasich’s unprecedented assault on women’s access to reproductive health care in Ohio. Since taking office in 2011, Kasich has enacted 11 separate policies that seek to limit access to family planning, close abortion clinics, interfere in the doctor patient relationship and limit information that is given to rape survivors.”
In what Copeland called “the most disingenuous move that I have ever seen in Ohio politics,” she made her case that John Kasich does not work for women. “The fact is, no governor in Ohio’s history has ever done more to undermine women’s reproductive health,” she said, adding, “At every turn, Kasich has imposed his extremist beliefs on Ohio’s women and interfered with how doctors provide reproductive health care in our state.” Copeland believes as others do that Kasich wants to effectively outlaw abortion in Ohio by closing its abortion clinics for trumped up reasons that claim to have women’s health concerns at heart but really don’t. “Women should not be fooled by Kasich’s slick ad campaign. Kasich does not work for women, and women should vote him out of office on November 4,”she said. Copeland proceeded to list 11 provisions that Gov. Kasich signed into law:
- Create a new consent process for women seeking abortion care that forces a doctor to perform medically unnecessary tests and give medically ambiguous information about the viability of the pregnancy.
- Require that all ambulatory surgical centers have transfer agreements with hospitals and grant authority to the politically appointed, anti-choice director of the Ohio Department of Health to cherry-pick what constitutes a valid transfer agreement, or variance, for any reason.
- Ban public hospitals from having transfer agreements with abortion clinics or allowing their doctors to use their admitting privileges to contract with abortion clinics.
- Reprioritize family planning funding to defund Planned Parenthood and other family planning experts, many of whom serve the poor in rural counties, jeopardizing the care of tens of thousands of patients that rely on these facilities for cancer screenings, birth control and other basic health care. Because of this provision eleven counties could lose access to subsidized family planning services entirely.
- Divert federal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families funds intended to be used for cash support for mothers and their children to unregulated crisis pregnancy centers. A year-long investigation conducted by NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio Foundation into crisis pregnancy centers revealed widespread use of coercive, biased, and medically inaccurate information.
- Ban later term abortion procedures without adequate exceptions for cases of fatal fetal abnormalities, to protect the health of pregnant women or women who have become pregnant because of sexual assault or incest.
- Ban local government insurance plans from covering abortion services.
- Ban insurance plans offered through the marketplace set up by the Affordable Care Act from covering abortion services, even when the individual is paying for the coverage with their own money.
- Ban public hospitals from performing abortions, with only a narrow exception for life threatening situations.
- Restrict minor women’s access to safe abortion care by limiting where she can obtain a judicial bypass when she cannot get the permission of a parent, as required by law. The restriction also mandates that a judge as a series of state mandated questions that could violate the attorney client privilege of the minor seeking the bypass.
- Limit how rape crisis programs funded by state dollars can counsel rape victims about their medical options if they get pregnant from the assault.
Ohio newspapers like the Columbus Dispatch, that have endorsed him for a second term, won’t be giving Copeland or Tucker much if any ink on just how retrograde their favorite governor has been on this issue and others that show just how backward the Buckeye State has become under this hard-right executive. It’s no wonder, then, that Johnny Pennsylvania doesn’t want to spend one minute debating either of his opponents, Ed FitzGerald for Democrats and Anita Rios for the Green Party, this year.
What could he possibly say that would make his insensitive and harmful policies toward the dominate gender that now out votes men seem sane and sensitive?
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