By Katie Nicora 2/22/2016
Republican presidential hopeful John Kasich signed a bill that effectively defunds Planned Parenthood in the state of Ohio. It was an anticipated move for the governor, since the Ohio Senate passed the bill back in January. Other Republican candidates have promised to defund Planned Parenthood if they’re elected, but Kasich is the first to pass legislation doing so. He also won the 2016 John Huntsman Memorial Prize for being the most moderate GOP candidate.
The bill does not target Planned Parenthood specifically, but it prohibits the state from contracting any organization that promotes or performs abortions. The organization will lose approximately $1.3 million in government funds which pay for STD testing, breast cancer screenings, programs to help prevent violence against women, and other forms of women’s healthcare.
Kasich speaks frequently on the campaign trail about the importance of providing funding for expecting mothers and newborn babies. Joe Andrews, a spokesman for the candidate, said in a statement, “The fact is that Governor Kasich has been a strong advocate for women’s health issues by helping 260,000 women gain access to health care coverage, pledging a 3-1 state match for a fund for breast and cervical cancer screenings, strengthening programs for sexual assault prevention, funding rape crisis centers for the first time in Ohio’s history, helping more women get access to childcare and protecting women from human trafficking.”
Cecile Richards, President of Planned Parenthood, quickly denounced the bill. “It’s clear Kasich has no regard for women’s health or lives,” she said in a statement, “and will stop at nothing to block healthcare for tens of thousands of Ohioans who rely on Planned Parenthood.” She went on to say the bill would have “devastating consequences for women across Ohio.”