In 2015, a bogus video from Project Veritas claiming to show Planned Parenthood officials arranging the sale aborted fetal remains captured the nation’s fascination. Turns out, that video was fake. But that didn’t stop Mike DeWine from launching an investigation in his official capacity as Ohio Attorney General into whether the Ohio affiliates of Parenthood were selling baby parts.
[Narrator: they were not not]
At the time, careful observers noticed that Ohio Right to Life, a staunch opponent of Planned Parenthood, issued a statement regarding the Attorney General’s office findings almost simultaneous with their release, suggesting the group had advance notice from DeWine’s office. This was followed by a press conference in which DeWine admitted he found no evidence of the sale of fetal remains, demonstrating little familiarity with the details of the review in the process, but also suggested wrongdoing by Planned Parenthood in the way remains were ultimately disposed without making clear what law was being violated.
[Ohio Democrats’ supercut of the DeWine press conference]
DeWine publicly threatened to sue Planned Parenthood, but reversed himself a month later, after Planned Parenthood preemptively countersued. The Planned Parenthood lawsuit was ultimately settled after a judge issued an injunction against the state, and taxpayers were forced to pay Planned Parenthood’s legal bills as a result of the Attorney General’s misguided witch hunt.
That wasn’t the end of the story, however.
Citiing concerns about the apparent coziness between the AG’s office and Right to Life, and whether the report’s released was timed to help John Kasich’s presidential aspirations, an anonymous complaint in 2016 asked the state Inspector General to look into coordination between the Attorney General and the anti-abortion group. Earlier this year, the AP revealed that official emails show top staff in Mike DeWine’s office were coordinating with Right to Life on how to conduct the investigation and President of Ohio Right To Life was texting congratulations to DeWine deputies about their great media coverage.
Now the AP has learned that the Ohio Inspector General never conducted an investigation and has no plans to do so. Inspector General Randall (“Randy”) Meyer, a former Mary Taylor staffer appointed by John Kasich, says he “lacks authority.”
Part of a Pattern
While it’s highly disturbing to find out Mike DeWine runs the Attorney General’s office like a branch of Ohio Right to Life, it’s not surprising. DeWine has made it his mission in office to find ways to limit access to reproductive healthcare.
In 2013, DeWine joined a lawsuit supporting the Hobby Lobby corporation, whose management sought to prevent its employees from buying birth control through company-provided healthcare plans despite the Affordable Care Act requiring it.
While DeWine is clearly on a mission, we can be thankful that his success rate is abysmal. Earlier this year, he lost a case (on appeal, he’d already lost in a lower court) in which he attempted to defend a new state law that would have defunded Planned Parenthood.
If Mike DeWine becomes Governor, he’s already said he would sign an outright ban on abortion without exception for rape or incest. When someone shows you who they are, believe them.
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