Ohio Governor John Kasich has signed a bill to defund family planning clinic Planned Parenthood, targeting $1.3 million in money that provides a wide range of women’s health services.
The Republican was long expected to sign the controversial bill, adding his name to a long list of Republicans who support the same restrictions.
Responding to protestors in South Carolina who called out: “Governor Kasich, why do you hate women’s health?” he said: “We fund women’s health very aggressively including the fight to reduce infant mortality in our state and we are not cutting off women’s health and we are not funding Planned Parenthood because they got themselves in this pickle."
The $1.3 million worth of funding for the Ohio state supports screenings for breast cancer, STD testing, programs to prevent violence against women and additional services.
Federal and state laws already prohibit taxpayer dollars from going to fund abortions, with exceptions for rape, incest and the life of the mother.
The bill does not specifically mention Planned Parenthood but says: “any entity that performs or promotes nontherapeutic abortions”.
Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richards claimed the bill would have “devastating consequences for women across Ohio”.
“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,” his spokesman Joe Andrews said in a statement as reported by NBC news.
“The state, through the Ohio Department of Health (ODH) has at least 150 other sub-grantees and contractors for the affected grants and projects addressing such issues as infant mortality, violence against women, and minority HIV/AIDS. ODH will reallocate funding from ineligible providers under the new law to other currently eligible providers, ranging from local health departments and community organizations to hospitals and universities.”