Breaking news Friday came from a federal court ruling that directed Gov. John Kasich’s health department to consider a grant application from Ohio Planned Parenthood.
Ohio’s lame duck governor has teamed up in the past with a hard-right legislature to make life for women harder, including an attempt to scuttle Planned Parenthood. Reprioritizing which groups would receive funding was the cunning method to assure Planned Parenthood would be out of luck and out of money. Ohio Republicans enacted laws that left the 100-year old health group out in the cold.
Ruling Saves Lifesaving Care
The ruling today by Judge Michael R. Barrett protects essential health services for the people of Ohio, the court said. The decision “ensures that thousands of women, men, and young people can continue to receive life-saving preventive care, including cancer screenings and breast exams, while also protects the fundamental right to access safe and legal abortion.”
“While today’s decision is welcome news, our fight is far from over,” said Maya Harris, on behalf of Hillary Clinton’s campaign. “In Ohio and across the country, women’s health is under attack,” she said, noting, “In the last year alone, eleven states have defunded Planned Parenthood, and in the first three months of 2016, states introduced more than 400 measures restricting access to abortion.”
Mrs. Clinton’s Republican opponent, Donald Trump, has previously said women should be punished for having abortions and has pledged to appoint Supreme Court justices who would overturn Roe v. Wade. Moreover, Mr. Trump claims that as President, he’ll be “the best for women,” but anyone who wants to defund Planned Parenthood has no idea what’s best for women,” Harris added.
As recently as two months ago, Gov. Kasich told his two favorite newspapers that Ohio “probably” will challenge a federal judge’s ruling that put a hold on an effort to defund Planned Parenthood in Ohio.
“I’m not for funding Planned Parenthood. I haven’t talked to legal counsel, but I assume we’ll appeal,” he told The Columbus Dispatch and Cleveland.com. A Cincinnati-based U.S. District Court judge, appointed by then-President George W. Bush, ordered a temporary halt to the $1.5 million defunding on the day in May that Gov. Kasich’s bill took effect. The judge wrote that the law would be “depriving thousands of Ohioans of high-quality, affordable health-care services and education programs.”
Camp Clinton rejoiced in the decision Friday, saying, “Today’s decision is a reminder of how much is at stake in this election. Ohio needs a President who will defend access to affordable and comprehensive women’s health care and appoint Supreme Court justices who recognize Roe v. Wade as settled law. Hillary Clinton is that president.”
PB contributor David DeWitt covered the story at the time, reporting that the political impetus for this “irresponsible and destructive policy came last summer after the leaking of debunked and highly edited videos from conservative activist David Daleiden got everybody on the right whipped up into a lather.” Instead of acknowledging the ruse, DeWitt observes, John Kasich doubled down on the misguided policy of defunding Planned Parenthood in Ohio.
A spokesman for Ohio Right to Life, a pro-life group that Ohio Republicans in including Gov. Kasich has close ties to, labeled the judge’s call “an embarrassing decision.”Kellie Copeland, executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio had the opposite view. “This is the latest in a series of stinging court defeats for John Kasich and his anti-abortion agenda,” she said, adding that state lawmakers should stop attacking Planned Parenthood and abortion access because they are going to lose.
On the presidential campaign trail, John Kasich tried to avoid the topic, but when he couldn’t, he admitted to his audience that he believed the debunked story that Planned Parenthood was selling baby body parts. The mission of Planned Parenthood is to provide critical access to full medical advice and coverage many low-income men and women could not obtain anywhere else, as DeWitt notes.
In her address to the DNC national nominating convention in late July in Philadelphia, Planned Parenthood’s national leader and spokesman, Cecile Richards, said she’s with the former secretary of state and first lady.
“Hillary has always been in Planned Parenthood’s corner, because she knows women deserve someone in theirs,” Richards said. “When Donald Trump and Mike Pence say they’ll defund Planned Parenthood, they’re talking about cutting women…off from lifesaving care.”
Richards knows the stakes are high this year, then zeroed in like an Olympic archer taking aim, “Make no mistake: women’s health and rights are on the line and on the ballot this election.”