John Kasich donned his Halloween costume as a champion for Ohio women several weeks ago when he started running campaign ads that tell us that he is the “right prescription for Ohio women.” But who is the real John Kasich under that carefully crafted mask?
John Kasich is the most anti-choice Ohio governor since Roe v. Wade in 1973. He has enacted 11 measures that interfere with access to abortion, contraception, and even information for rape survivors. With that sort of record, no wonder he has to pay for campaign ads to say nice things said about his record on women’s issues!
Given his allies claims that Ohio is an anti-choice state (it isn’t), and his presumed re-election on November4th (it ain’t over till the votes are counted), you would think Kasich would be eager to talk about his policies on women’s reproductive health. So what happens when someone tries to lift Kasich’s mask and asks him about the policies he has signed into law? He becomes visibly angry, and will only say, “I am pro-life” as he did at the PD editorial meeting.
Why does Kasich react this way? Perhaps it is because Kasich knows that Ohioans do not support these policies, so he doesn’t want them to be reminded of them as they are walking into the voting booth. Perhaps it is because Kasich knows that his interference with women’s health is shameful.
Kasich’s 11 laws on reproductive health care:
- Create a new consent process for a woman seeking abortion care that forces her doctor to perform medically unnecessary tests and give her 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.
Many of these provisions were hidden in the state budget and weren’t even given the courtesy of the normal legislative review process. That is why Preterm abortion clinic and the ACLU of Ohio are challenging those provisions in state court.
The only thing scarier than the laws Kasich has enacted, is their impact. Women must leave Ohio to get medical care when something goes tragically wrong later in their pregnancy. Ohio has lost six abortion clinics since January 2013. Only eight remain (Kasich is actively trying to close two of them, and has plans to close them all). Countless women cannot access abortion care because their health insurance is banned from covering the cost, and that number will grow if Kasich succeeds in closing more clinics. Cincinnati could become the largest metropolitan area in America without an abortion provider.
Meanwhile, Kasich continues to hide behind his mask financed by the Koch brothers and all their millionaire pals, pretending that he is “the right prescription for Ohio women.” Scary.
Kellie Copeland is Executive Director for NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio – www.ProChoiceOhio.org