Ohio Gov. John Kasich has been touted as the moderate alternative to more conservative and firebrand Republican presidential candidates, but Planned Parenthood begs to differ.
On Wednesday, just after a bill cutting off $1.3 million in funding for Planned Parenthood was sent to Kasich's desk, Planned Parenthood Advocates of Ohio launched digital advertisements against him. According to the group, the "five-figure ad buy" includes a video to be placed on Facebook and across Ohio news sites.
“The secret is out: John Kasich is terrible for women’s health," Dawn Laguens, Vice President of the Planned Parenthood Action Fund, said in a statement. "He knows that his attacks on women’s health are unpopular -- that’s why he never talks about them on the campaign trail. But as the Governor of Ohio, John Kasich has done everything within his power to ban access to safe, legal abortion and basic care at Planned Parenthood health centers."
Kasich is expected to sign the bill before him, having already signed a budget in 2013 that reduced Planned Parenthood funding. The organization says targets of the bill just passed by the legislature include a "Healthy Moms, Healthy Babies" program to reduce infant mortality, as well as HIV testing and domestic violence prevention programs.
The governor has already signed at least sixteen anti-abortion measures into law since taking office in 2011. In that time, half of the state's abortion clinics have ceased providing those services, some because of regulations targeting abortion providers with which they have been unable to comply. Another restriction barred rape crisis counselors from discussing abortion with patients. Asked about that measure in an interview with the editorial board of the Cleveland Plain Dealer, Kasich said, "We certainly want to care. I actually believe in the exception of rape, incest, and life of the mother. Okay? But look, at the end of the day, I’m going to do what I think is a pro-life — you know, looking, being in a position of being pro-life." Mike Gonidakis, president of Ohio Right to Life, told FiveThirtyEight, "We’ve never had a governor in my lifetime that was laser-focused on the issue of life like John Kasich is today."
But while campaigning for president, Kasich has sounded far more conciliatory on the issue. “Obviously it’s the law of the land now,” Kasich said at a town hall meeting, “and we live with the law of the land.” He told CNN in August that Republicans "focus too much on just one issue." The comments have angered and puzzled conservatives. With the new bill, Kasich now has a chance to show them where he stands, just as he heads to the more socially conservative South Carolina.