Two Democratic elected officials — Mahoning County Commissioner Carol Rimedio-Righetti and Youngstown Clerk of Courts Sarah Brown-Clark — criticized Gov. John Kasich and his fellow Republicans in the state Legislature for approving a budget the duo says restricts women’s health-care access.
Standing near the city’s Planned Parenthood facility on East Midlothian Boulevard on the South Side, the two said Wednesday that Republicans are targeting women in the $62 billion biennium state budget signed into law Sunday by Kasich.
“I feel like we’re in the early 1900s again,” Rimedio-Righetti said.
The event, like others around the state, was organized by the Ohio Democratic Party.
The budget bill requires a woman wanting an abortion to have a doctor conduct an ultrasound for a fetal heartbeat before the procedure can be done; places Planned Parenthood at the end of the list for family planning federal money, which will result in the loss of about $1.4 million for the organization; and have a mandatory 48-hour waiting period for abortions, rather than 24 hours, unless there is a “medical emergency,” among other provisions.
“The governor is pro-life, and we view these as reasonable provisions to help protect human life,” said Rob Nichols, Kasich’s spokesman. “This is partisan rhetoric not matched by reality.”
The governor expanded medical coverage for autistic children, and he is fighting to expand Medicaid coverage to 275,000 of the state’s working poor, including about 180,000 women, Nichols said.
The changes to Planned Parenthood will threaten critical health-care services such as cancer screenings, access to birth control and testing for sexually transmitted diseases to low- to moderate-income people, Rimedio-Righetti and Brown-Clark said.
“The governor has turned the budget into an attack document on women,” Brown-Clark said.
Planned Parenthood provides abortions.
“Women who come to Planned Parenthood aren’t making a political statement,” Rimedio-Righetti said. “They’re coming for critical, preventive health care like breast exams, Pap smears and even birth control.”