Moderate John Kasich Just Defunded Planned Parenthood In Ohio

The bill will strip $1.3 million that was destined for HIV testing.

02/21/2016 03:33 pm ET | Updated Feb 21, 2016
  • Marina Fang Associate Politics Editor, The Huffington Post

Ohio Gov. John Kasich (R) on Sunday signed a bill that effectively defunds Planned Parenthood in his state.

The bill strips state and some federal funding from health clinics that perform and promote "nontherapeutic abortions," including Planned Parenthood facilities.

While the bill grants an exemption to abortions performed in cases of rape, incest and preserving the life of the mother, it jeopardizes the fate of other vital women's health programs.

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Ohio Gov. John Kasich just signed a bill that strips state and some federal funding from health clinics that perform and promote "nontherapeutic abortions."

For example, the $1.3 million in state grants that Planned Parenthood is slated to lose was allocated toward HIV testing, cancer screenings and programs that help prevent domestic violence and infant mortality.

In a statement, the organization's president, Cecile Richards, denounced the bill, arguing that it would have "devastating consequences for women across Ohio."

“John Kasich is proudly eliminating care for expectant mothers and newborns; he is leaving thousands without vital STD and HIV testing, slashing a program to fight domestic violence, and cutting access to essential, basic health care," she said.

"It’s clear Kasich has no regard for women’s health or lives, and will stop at nothing to block health care for the tens of thousands of Ohioans who rely on Planned Parenthood,” Richards added.

As HuffPost's Dana Liebelson and Samantha Lachman reported earlier this month, Kasich's decision to sign the bill should not come as a surprise. Although the GOP presidential hopeful has been hailed by many in his party as being moderate, he has long supported abortion restrictions in his state.

Just months after becoming governor, Kasich signed a bill banning abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy unless the fetus is nonviable. In 2013, Kasich signed a budget that stripped roughly $1.4 million in family planning funds from Planned Parenthood, required abortion providers to perform ultrasounds on patients seeking abortions and allowed rape crisis centers to be stripped of their public funds if they referred victims to abortion providers, among other measures. The budget also blocked public hospitals from entering into transfer agreements for medical emergencies with abortion clinics, threatening clinics with closure if they couldn't get a private hospital to enter into those agreements. Because private hospitals often have religious affiliations, this arrangement often wasn't possible.

In all, nearly half of Ohio’s abortion clinics have closed since Kasich took office.

Last year, Kasich also said that he supports a state bill that would ban abortions for Down syndrome. Critics argue that the bill violates the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade ruling, which declared that women can choose to get an abortion at any point until the fetus is viable and that the choice to get an abortion should be a private matter between the patient and her doctor, not determined by the government. 

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