News Politics

Kasich’s Anti-Choice Policy Blitz Forcing Ohio Women to Seek Abortion Care in Michigan

Ally Boguhn

Since Kasich, a 2016 presidential candidate, took office in 2011, he has quietly led his state to an almost unprecedented number of abortion clinic closures.

Michigan, Ohio’s neighboring state, has seen an influx of nonresidents seeking abortion care in the wake of Republican Gov. John Kasich’s relentless campaign to roll back abortion access, FiveThirtyEight reports.

Since Kasich, a 2016 presidential candidate, took office in 2011, he has quietly led his state to an almost unprecedented number of abortion clinic closures. Analysis of data released by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services has revealed that many Ohio residents may in fact be turning to the neighboring state for abortion care.

Although Michigan has seen an overall decrease in abortions since 1987, that number has steadily begun to riseand so have the number of nonresidents visiting the state for abortions.

“From 2012 to 2013 abortions rose by 11.6 percent, and from 2013 to 2014 they increased 5.8 percent,” explained FiveThirtyEight in a report profiling Kasich’s anti-abortion legacy in Ohio. “Data from Michigan’s health department shows that the number of abortions performed on nonresidents jumped from 708 in 2013 to 1,318 in 2014, an increase of 86 percent.”

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Ohio was home to 14 clinics two years into Kasich’s first term in 2013, but as they were forced to comply with medically unnecessary licensing regulations, all but eight closed or were forced to stop providing abortion services, as RH Reality Check has reported.

The Associated Press in November uncovered evidence that Kasich’s aides had played a key role in helping craft the same measure that forced the clinic closures, an anti-abortion restriction inserted into the 2014 state budget that was previously attributed solely to the state’s Republican-majority legislature. Emails obtained by the news organization and verified by the governor’s office detailed how members of Kasich’s team had helped write language for the abortion restriction 18 months prior to the state’s budget being released to the public.

Despite often being labeled as a “moderate” Republican presidential candidate, Kasich has overseen the implementation of 16 anti-choice measures, such as a 2011 later abortion ban, and appointed Ohio Right to Life President Michael Gonidakis to the state medical board.

“The slew of new provisions has meant not only fewer options but also more obstacles for women looking to terminate a pregnancy, and in turn it has affected who is able to get an abortion in the state,” FiveThirtyEight reported.

Sheva Guy, a 23-year-old Cincinnati doctoral student, shared her own struggle with obtaining an abortion in Ohio after a second-trimester ultrasound showed that her fetus had a fatal spinal abnormality. In the absence of reliable access to abortion in her home state, where no doctors were willing to do the procedure, Guy was forced to travel more than 300 miles to Chicago and spend $3,000 to receive the care she needed.

News Abortion

Pennsylvania’s TRAP Law Could Be the Next to Go Down

Teddy Wilson

The Democrats' bill would repeal language from a measure that targets abortion clinics, forcing them to meet the standards of ambulatory surgical facilities.

A Pennsylvania lawmaker on Wednesday introduced a bill that would repeal a state law requiring abortion clinics to meet the standards of ambulatory surgical facilities (ASF). The bill comes in response to the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling striking down a similar provision in Texas’ anti-choice omnibus law known as HB 2.

A similar so-called targeted regulation of abortion providers (TRAP) law was passed in Pennsylvania in 2011 with bipartisan majorities in both the house and state senate, and was signed into law by former Gov. Tom Corbett (R).

SB 1350, sponsored by Sen. Daylin Leach (D-Montgomery) would repeal language from Act 122 that requires abortion clinics to meet ASF regulations. The text of the bill has not yet been posted on the state’s legislative website.

The bill is co-sponsored by state Sens. Art Haywood (D-Philadelphia), Larry Farnese (D-Philadelphia), and Judy Schwank (D-Berks).

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Leach said in a statement that there has been a “nationwide attack on patients and their doctors,” but that the Supreme Court’s ruling upholds the constitutionally protected right to terminate a pregnancy.

“Abortion is a legal, Constitutionally-protected right that should be available to all women,” Leach said. “Every member of the Pennsylvania General Assembly swore an oath to support, obey and defend the Constitution of the United States, so we must act swiftly to repeal this unconstitutional requirement.”

TRAP laws, which single out abortion clinics and providers and subject them to regulations that are more stringent than those applied to medical clinics, have been passed in several states in recent years.

However, the Supreme Court’s ruling in Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt that struck down two of the provisions in HB 2 has already had ramifications on similar laws passed in other states with GOP-held legislatures.

The Supreme Court blocked similar anti-choice laws in Wisconsin and Mississippi, and Alabama’s attorney general announced he would drop an appeal to a legal challenge of a similar law.

News Politics

David Daleiden Brags About Discredited Smear Campaign at GOP Convention

Amy Littlefield

Daleiden’s claims about the videos’ impact on Planned Parenthood contrast with a recent poll showing that support for Planned Parenthood has increased in the aftermath of the Center for Medical Progress' anti-choice smear videos.

David Daleiden, a year after he began releasing secretly recorded and deceptively edited videos claiming to show Planned Parenthood officials were illegally profiting from fetal tissue donation, appeared to boast about the videos’ purported impact at a luncheon during the Republican National Convention (RNC).

“I think it’s very clear that one year later, Planned Parenthood is on the brink, they’re on the precipice,” Daleiden said at the event, co-hosted by the Family Research Council Action and the Susan B. Anthony List. “Their client numbers are down by at least 10 percent, their abortion numbers are down, their revenues are down and their clinics are closing.”

The luncheon took place at the Hyde Park Prime Steakhouse, near the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio, where the Republican National Convention is underway. Also in attendance at Wednesday’s luncheon were a slate of Republican anti-choice politicians, including Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant, Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback, former Texas Gov. Rick Perry, Nebraska Sen. Deb Fischer, and North Carolina Rep. Virginia Foxx.

Daleiden—who is under felony indictment in Texas and the subject of lawsuits in California for his actions in filming the undercover videos—touted efforts to defund Planned Parenthood by state Republican legislators and governors, who used the Center for Medical Progress (CMP) smear videos as a basis for investigations. Those defunding attempts have been blocked by federal court order in several cases.

He celebrated Planned Parenthood’s announcement that it would close two and consolidate four health centers in Indiana, an effort Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky said would “allow patients to receive affordable, quality health care with extended hours at the newly consolidated locations.” Daleiden made no mention of last month’s Supreme Court decision overturning abortion restrictions in Texas, which dealt the anti-choice movement its worst legal defeat in decades.

“One year ago now, from the release of those videos, I think it’s actually safe to say that Planned Parenthood has never been more on the defensive in their entire 100 years of history, and the pro-life movement has never been stronger,” Daleiden said.

While his tone was victorious, Daleiden appeared to avoid directly claiming credit for the supposed harm done to Planned Parenthood. In a federal racketeering lawsuit brought against Daleiden and his co-defendants, Planned Parenthood has argued that Daleiden should compensate the organization for the harm that his smear campaign caused.

Republican congressional lawmakers have held at least five hearings and as many defunding votes against Planned Parenthood in the year since the videos’ release. Not a single state or federal investigation has produced evidence of wrongdoing.

Daleiden’s claims about the videos’ impact on Planned Parenthood contrast with a recent NBC/Wall Street Journal poll showing that support for Planned Parenthood has increased in the aftermath of the CMP smear videos.