Ohio Governor John Kasich [official website] signed a bill [text, PDF] into law on Sunday that prohibits state contracts with organizations that promote or perform abortions. Although not specifically named in the bill, the legislation will prevent [CNN report] about $1.3 million in state funding from going to Planned Parenthood [official website]. The organization has voiced its disapproval of the bill, saying the defunding effect will take away STD testing services, aid to domestic violence victims and other basic healthcare that Planned Parenthood provides. The governor’s office stated that there are plenty of other organizations that provide these services that will qualify for grants and state funding under the new legislation. While Kasich has been viewed as a moderate in the Republican party, his signing of this bill is consistent [Huffington Post report] with his previous actions, as he has cut funding for Planned Parenthood before and threatened other organizations with defunding or closure if they associate themselves with abortion services.
Planned Parenthood has come under increased scrutiny recently following the release of video footage purportedly showing employees discussing financial remuneration in exchange for fetal tissue. Earlier this month Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker [official website] signed two bills that will cut funding to Planned Parenthood in the state by millions of dollars [JURIST report]. Last month President Barack Obama [official profile] vetoed legislation [JURIST report] that would have defunded Planned Parenthood. Also in January a Texas grand jury has found no criminal wrongdoing [JURIST report] by Planned Parenthood over allegations of selling fetal tissue, instead indicting two activists responsible for releasing videos that spurred the allegations. JURIST guest columnist Kermit Roosevelt [official profile] earlier this month provided some background info and a projection of the future of abortion [JURIST op-ed], suggesting that an equality-based argument may work better than a justice argument, and although this has been called for by some, society will have to identify the underlying issue as equality before it is successful.