Ohio Governor John Kasich signed House Bill 294 on Sunday, an anti-abortion measure designed to blocked Planned Parenthood from receiving funding. While the bill has very little direct impact on abortion services, it does block state grants and some federal funds that were intended for women and children’ health care services and education. To date, Governor Kasich, a 2016 Republican presidential candidate who has billed himself as a moderate and distanced himself from the abortion issue on the campaign trail, has signed every piece of anti-abortion legislation that has landed on his desk.
House Bill 294, created by Representatives Bill Patmon and Margaret Conditt, aims to defund Planned Parenthood by redirecting $1.3 million in state supplied grants from Ohio’s 28 Planned Parenthood centers to community health centers that do not provide abortion services. Local health centers could face retaliation if they continue to work alongside Planned Parenthood.
The bill “forbids the state from contracting for health services with any entity that performs or promotes non-therapeutic abortions.” Non-therapeutic abortions include all reasons other than to save the life of the mother or abortion in proven cases of rape or incest.
The funds cut by House Bill 294 account for about 5% of Planned Parenthood’s budget in Ohio. The $1.3 million had been allocated for basic health services, HIV and cancer screenings, a domestic violence prevention program, sexual health education and a program to prevent infant mortality.
Planned Parenthood of Greater Ohio CEO Stephanie Knight says that the organization will try alternatives to raising these funds to continue these essential programs and services.
The Ohio anti-abortion group Right to Life, which advocated for Kasich to pass this bill, argued that even if the funds weren’t being used for providing abortions, they paid for Planned Parenthood’s staff and operating costs and would effectively limit their ability to provide services to Ohioans.
Since Kasich entered the Governor’s office in 2011, seven Ohio Planned Parenthood centers that provided abortion have closed. Now only nine such centers remain in the state.
One day after signing this bill into law, Kasich made the following statement at a campaign stop in Fairfax, Virginia, further indicating his bizarre attitude toward women:
“How did I get elected?” he asked. “Nobody was — I didn’t have anybody for me. We just got an army of people, who, and many women, who left their kitchens to go out and go door to door and to put yard signs up for me.”