Ohio Gov. John Kasich Signs a Bill Slashing Contraception Funding While Restricting Abortion

The XX Factor
What Women Really Think
July 1 2013 11:15 AM

Ohio Simultaneously Makes It Harder to Prevent a Pregnancy and Harder to Terminate One

John Kasich really wants you to make more babies.

Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

The ruse that the anti-choice movement is about "life" has been harder to maintain in recent years, as lawmakers have starting attacking contraception access (which reduces the need for abortion, duh). Gov. John Kasich of Ohio took it a step further Sunday night and signed a bill that merges his party's anti-contraception and anti-abortion agendas into one. The budget bill (of course!) packs a one-two-three punch of making it harder for women to prevent pregnancies, harder for women to terminate pregnancies, and harder for low-income women to keep their babies. 

As is typical with these sorts of things, the abortion restrictions are getting the bulk of the headlines. HB59 has a bunch of severe anti-abortion riders on it, including a mandatory ultrasound humiliation ritual and restrictions to make it harder for abortion providers to work with local hospitals (directly contradicting the right's claim that its newfound love for clinic restrictions is about making abortion safer).


What's not getting as many headlines is this: The defunding of contraception services in the state may manage to do even more damage to women's health than the abortion restrictions. As reported by NPR, Ohio Republicans barely bothered to claim that defunding family planning services is about abortion. Family planning centers will now basically not be able to get any funding at all for contraception services, even if they don't provide abortion. Merely making abortion referrals, which is something that all medically respectable clinics do, is enough to make your clinic last priority for funding. And it's not just contraception providers that are hurt by acknowledging that abortion exists. If a rape crisis center counsels a woman who asks about abortion, they will also be defunded. 

Since the war on contraception remains as unpopular as it ever was, anti-choice activists are still doing the obligatory dance of pretending that contraception services will still be available. Michael Gonidakis, the head of Ohio Right to Life, implied to NPR that there were other providers of birth control within "walking proximity" of the contraception clinics his group is lobbying to close. I say implied because he avoided saying the words "contraception" or "birth control" out loud, instead trying to steer the conversation toward the "adoption reform" part of the bill. Indeed, HB59 is largely built around not just trying to increase the rate of unwanted child-bearing, but to make it harder for women to keep their babies. The budget for welfare services to help single mothers was cut, but crisis pregnancy centers that lay the adoption pressure on thick got more money. 

Taken together, the cuts to contraception funding, the cuts to welfare, the restrictions on abortion, and the money flowing to crisis pregnancy centers paint a very grim view of how Ohio Republicans see women—and low-income women especially: as baby factories that need to dramatically increase production. You can call that "pro-life" if you want, but it's increasingly clear that it's just anti-woman.

Amanda Marcotte is a Brooklyn-based writer and DoubleX contributor. She also writes regularly for the Daily Beast, AlterNet, and USA Today. Follow her on Twitter.


Justice Ginsburg’s Crucial Dissent in the Texas Voter ID Case

The Jarring Experience of Watching White Americans Speak Frankly About Race

How Facebook’s New Feature Could Come in Handy During a Disaster

The Most Ingenious Teaching Device Ever Invented

Sprawl, Decadence, and Environmental Ruin in Nevada

View From Chicago

You Should Be Able to Sell Your Kidney

Or at least trade it for something.

Space: The Next Generation

An All-Female Mission to Mars

As a NASA guinea pig, I verified that women would be cheaper to launch than men.

Terrorism, Immigration, and Ebola Are Combining Into a Supercluster of Anxiety

The Legal Loophole That Allows Microsoft to Seize Assets and Shut Down Companies

  News & Politics
Oct. 19 2014 1:05 PM Dawn Patrol Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s critically important 5 a.m. wake-up call on voting rights.
Business Insider
Oct. 19 2014 11:40 AM Pot-Infused Halloween Candy Is a Worry in Colorado
Oct. 17 2014 5:26 PM Judge Begrudgingly Strikes Down Wyoming’s Gay Marriage Ban
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 17 2014 4:23 PM A Former FBI Agent On Why It’s So Hard to Prosecute Gamergate Trolls
  Slate Plus
Slate Picks
Oct. 17 2014 1:33 PM What Happened at Slate This Week?  Senior editor David Haglund shares what intrigued him at the magazine. 
Oct. 19 2014 4:33 PM Building Family Relationships in and out of Juvenile Detention Centers
Future Tense
Oct. 17 2014 6:05 PM There Is No Better Use For Drones Than Star Wars Reenactments
  Health & Science
Space: The Next Generation
Oct. 19 2014 11:45 PM An All-Female Mission to Mars As a NASA guinea pig, I verified that women would be cheaper to launch than men.
Sports Nut
Oct. 16 2014 2:03 PM Oh What a Relief It Is How the rise of the bullpen has changed baseball.