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Let’s Look At Ohio, And the Devastation John Kasich Has Cause for Women

Contact: Planned Parenthood Action Fund Media Office, 212-261-4433

For Immediate Release: 02.13.16

Washington, D.C. –– In tonight’s debate, John Kasich bragged about his record in Ohio of expanding access to health care for Ohioans, saying “...boy, people ought to look at Ohio, because we've got a good formula.”

But when you look at Ohio, you see a scary picture. This very weekend he’s getting ready to sign a bill that would block thousands of Ohioans from receiving essential, lifesaving care at Planned Parenthood -- like HIV testing, sex education for youth, and infant mortality prevention programs. Since becoming Governor in 2011, Kasich has enacted 17 measures restricting access to reproductive health care and safe, legal abortion that has led to the shuttering of nearly half of abortion providers in the state.

Fact Check: John Kasich has decimated women’s health care in Ohio

FACT: Governor Kasich cut funding for Planned Parenthood in Ohio in 2013, and has pledged to sign another piece of legislation that would cut even more funding. Planned Parenthood health centers served over 80,000 Ohio patients in 2013, providing contraceptive services to over 66,000 patients and STI tests to over 105,000 patients.

  • Governor Kasich said Republicans should “fight like crazy” to end funding for Planned Parenthood. [Newsmax, 9/28/15]

  • Ohio clinics aren’t prepared for the patients who would lose care if Planned Parenthood lost funding: The Telegraph-Forum writes, “Claire Boettler, president of the Ohio Public Health Association, is concerned that city and county health departments, free clinics and pregnancy resource centers won't have the capacity to care for thousands of additional women. Her group's more-than 600 members include physicians, nurses and health educators in local health departments, universities and nonprofits. ‘For example, women currently enrolled in the BCCP (Breast and Cervical Cancer Project) program may have a longer waiting period for an appointment that could result in later stage diagnosis of breast or cervical cancer, and women served through the MAI (Minority AIDS Initiative) program may temporarily lose access to critical treatment medications necessary to keep their disease in check," Boettler wrote to lawmakers considering the cuts.’” [Bucyrus Telegraph-Forum, 10/30/15]

  • Cuts would affect funding for infant mortality prevention programs: “Opponents of the Ohio bill are particularly concerned about the funds for Planned Parenthood’s infant mortality prevention programs; the state has one of the highest infant mortality rates in the country. ‘I know it seems like a smaller dollar amount, but we’re talking about really the most vulnerable population.’” [New Republic, 10/21/15]

FACT: Governor Kasich is no moderate, he is an extreme abortion opponent.

  • Politico: On abortion, Kasich is no moderate: “Laws signed by Kasich prohibit almost all abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy, mandate ultrasounds before a woman can get an abortion and require abortion clinics to establish formal written agreements with local hospitals about emergency care — a provision that has been repeatedly modified to be even more restrictive and make it harder for clinics to comply.”

  • Mother Jones: “Michael Gonidakis, president of Ohio Right to Life….adds, ‘There is no candidate running for president who has done more for the pro-life movement than John Kasich.’"

  • The Columbus Dispatch: “In 2011, Kasich signed into law a bill that banned late-term abortions. The law prohibits abortions after 20 weeks unless a doctor determines the fetus could not live outside the womb. He also has signed a measure requiring an ultrasound of anyone seeking an abortion. The Ohio Department of Health reports that the vast majority of the 23,216 abortions performed in Ohio in 2013 took place less than nine weeks into pregnancy. The state has said 173 abortions after 21 weeks were recorded in 2013….Gonidakis said he does not doubt that Kasich is with his group on the abortion issue, and he said that under Kasich as governor, the state has seen ‘historic lows in the number of abortions. Whether John Kasich makes it to the finish line in this race,” he said, ‘his body of work in Ohio on the pro-life movement speaks for itself.’”

FACT: Women’s access to health care shrunk under Gov. Kasich

  • Mother Jones:“Since Kasich entered office in 2011, he has enacted 16 anti-abortion measures. Some directly restrict abortion access, such as the 20-week late-term ban that he signed six months after entering office. Others limit the work of abortion providers. For example, in 2013 he signed the state's budget bill, which included one provision that prohibits state-funded rape crisis counselors from referring women to abortion services and another that stripped Planned Parenthood of an estimated $1.4 million in federal family-planning dollars. The measures have had drastic consequences for access to abortion and medical care for Ohio women:

Under Gov. Kasich’s administration, nearly half of Ohio’s abortion clinics closed.

  • Mother Jones: During Kasich's time in office, the number of abortion providers in the state has dropped from 16 to eight.”

  • Toledo Blade: “But the law had the effect of shutting down nearly half of Ohio’s abortion clinics, which is exactly what lawmakers intended it to do. Many abortion providers can’t get transfer agreements because hospitals face intense pressure from anti-abortion activists to deny them.”

  • Think Progress: “In terms of the areas where high number of clinics have recently been shuttered, Ohio ranks second only to Texas. And Ohio isn’t stopping there. Aside from the proposed budget, lawmakers have also been advancing a 20-week abortion ban; the state senate approved that legislation just last week. For years, reproductive rights groups have been warning that Ohio is becoming one of the worst states for abortion access. At the end of last week, the Plain Dealer’s editorial board also sounded the alarm: “These draconian rules aimed at closing Ohio’s abortion clinics appear to be a thinly veiled effort to get before the U.S. Supreme Court a challenge to Roe v.Wade, the case that legalized abortion,” the newspaper wrote in reference to the proposed budget bill”.

FACT: Ohio women are driving to Michigan to access abortion.

  • Toledo Blade: “Michigan abortion clinics see an influx of Ohioans...Ms. Chilean said she began to notice women coming from Ohio to the Michigan clinics about two years ago when Ohio law changed and banned abortions after 22 weeks.”

  • CBS News: “Both sides agree that one factor in Michigan's upsurge in abortions is an influx of women coming from Ohio, where several abortion clinics recently closed. According to Michigan's health department, abortions for nonresidents jumped from 708 in 2013 to 1,318 in 2014.”

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Planned Parenthood Action Fund is an independent, nonpartisan, not-for-profit membership organization formed as the advocacy and political arm of Planned Parenthood Federation of America. The Action Fund engages in educational and electoral activity, including voter education, grassroots organizing, and legislative advocacy.