Perhaps lost in the noise of the South Carolina primary, Governor John Kasich brought the pro-life movement a significant victory in Ohio. On Sunday, Kasich signed a bill that “effectively defunds Planned Parenthood in his state.” The summary of the bill, HB 294, states that the General Assembly of Ohio moves “…to require the Department of Health to ensure that state funds and certain federal funds are not used either to perform or promote nontherapeutic abortions,” effectively removing $1.3 million in state grants. Kasich signed the bill after it was approved by both the state Senate and House of Representatives in Ohio.
This follows the strong record that the Governor has on protecting life in Ohio. Only months after taking office in 2011, Kasich signed HB 78, a bill banning abortion after 20 weeks, unless the fetus is shown to have no chance of surviving outside womb. Although the GOP presidential candidate has not been making life a prominent issue for his campaign, he has been consistent in stating his pro-life values. During one of his town halls in New Hampshire ten days ago, John Kasich was asked by a voter if he’d sign a budget that funded Planned Parenthood. His response was simple: “We’re not gonna fund it.”
Critics and supporters alike have noted Kasich’s record of defending the unborn. For example, in response to the bill, Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards stated, “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. … 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.” However, what Ms. Richards fails to note is that, in the text of the bill, those same funds are going to other clinics that provide care to expectant mothers and newborns. What Ms. Richards must mean instead is that the money is being directed towards clinics that do not provide abortions.
John Kasich ought to be praised for stepping forward and putting his commitment to life into ink repeatedly. It seems that when it comes to the issue of life, Kasich shows principle in both word and action.
Kevin Dawson is Deputy Operations Manager for the American Principles Project.