Ohio Gov. John Kasich can’t say enough about balancing the federal budget, as he advances his long-shot odds of running for president by visiting mostly ruby red states to push what many conservatives and progressives say is his terrible idea for a constitutional convention that could reform the U.S. Constitutional in unpredictable and harmful ways.

When it comes to issues that impact women and their ability to make decisions in their own self-interest, Gov. Kasich is literally tongue-tied. Last fall, when he campaigned for a second term, Ohio’s glib governor had little to say about all the bad women’s health policy he has signed into law, whether they were stand-alone bills that worked their way through a GOP-led legislature or stuffed into a budget bill at the last minute at the request of special interests who shared his ideological stance on women and their special health needs. Saying he’s “pro-life” was the extent of what Gov. Kasich wanted to say to anyone who dared ask him about his shameful record on a woman’s right to determine her own destiny.

Given his beliefs and track record over nearly four decades as a high-paid government employee on women and issues key to a healthy life, Gov. Kasich will say nothing about two news items Monday that refute or repudiate his antiquated thinking on women and women’s rights.

Lies And Raw Deals

In a new 28-page report released today by NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio [NPCO], Ohio’s so-called “Crisis Pregnancy Centers” (CPCs) are unmasked for using deceptive practices to lure pregnant women to their facilities in an effort to deny them access to a full range of health care services, including abortion.

“In 2013, the Kasich administration approved of tax dollars going to crisis pregnancy centers,” Gabriel Mann, NPCO Communications Manager said in an email announcing the report. “This report shows that these are in no way medical institutions. They lie, they scare, and they humiliate women. He [Gov. John Kasich] should not make the same mistake twice by rubber-stamping yet another request by Ohio Right to Life in 2015.” Mann alleges CPCs employ tactics that include targeted and misleading advertising, maintaining the illusion of being real medical clinics providing real medical information, and in some states, receiving the veneer of legitimacy through state funding and mandated referrals.

In separate but related news on women and poverty worldwide, more than 30 influential female celebrities, politicians, executives and activists, including Beyonce, Lady Gaga and business leaders like Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg, signed a letter by the international advocacy organization One saying “Poverty Is Sexist.” The purpose of the letter, addressed to German Chancellor Merkel and Chairwoman Dlamini-Zuma, a South African politician and anti-apartheid activist who served as South Africa’s Minister of Health from 1994 to 1999 under then-President Nelson Mandela, is to raise awareness for women’s rights around the world.

Signers of the letter say that “women get a raw deal” and “poverty is sexist.” “Put simply, poverty is sexist, and we won’t end it unless we face up to the fact that girls and women get a raw deal, and until leaders and citizens around the world work together for real change. Because when we deliver for girls and women, we deliver for everyone.” Echoing the new rallying cry coined by Ohio Congressman Joyce Beatty, that “When Women Succeed, America Succeeds,” the letter argues: “If we get this right, we could help lift every girl and woman out of poverty by 2030 – and by doing so we will lift everyone. Get this wrong and extreme poverty, inequality and instability might spread in the most vulnerable regions, impacting all our futures.”

Back in Ohio, a key presidential swing state that could take on outsized importance in 2016 now that Cleveland will host the National Republican Committee’s nominating convention, which could put Gov. Kasich or junior U.S. Senator Rob Portman on the ticket as the nominee or running mate, NPCO’s report doesn’t mince words as it reveals their finding on CPCs.

Main findings:

  • CPCs lie to women, telling them abortion clinics are unlicensed and dirty, and that abortions can potentially cause breast cancer, cervix incompetence, infertility, and negative effects on women’s mental health.
  • CPCs provide false information about birth control and lie to women about how long they have to make the decision to receive abortion care.
  • CPCs use taxpayer money. Eighteen states use license plates and other tax revenues to fund dangerous CPCs whose sole mission is to lie to women.
  • CPCs use targeted advertising to lure in women of color, according to a report from Colorlines.com which exposed a plan by CPCs to deliberately set up shop in these communities to go after vulnerable women and deny them the reproductive care and honest information to which they have a right. These calculated campaigns designed to mislead and deceive women about their health care options, have no place in our society.
  • CPCs represent a danger to women’s reproductive health and rights based on evidence that they lie to women about the risks associated with birth control and abortion, while not giving women accurate information about all the medical options available.

Gov. Kasich has famously promised to “lift everyone up no matter their circumstances.” If he wants his word to be his bond, he could start by reversing course on his strident, harmful attitude and actions toward women, whose access to their constitutional rights to an abortion now consist of an ever-tougher obstacle course, while access to gun rights, also a constitutional right, has few obstructions to overcome.

 

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