There are now 16 Republicans running for president: Ohio Gov. John Kasich entered the race on Tuesday, announcing his candidacy at Ohio State University, his alma mater. Despite being more open-minded than some of his GOP colleagues on issues like marriage equality, Kasich is staunchly anti-abortion, and during his political career, he has slashed funding for family planning programs that included contraceptive services. As a result, even though he occupies a more centrist position on controversial issues like Medicaid than some of the other Republican candidates, he is not the president that feminists need or deserve. In fact, John Kasich would be a terrible president for women.
Back in 2011, Kasich signed a bill that would ban abortions after 20 weeks if the fetus was determined to be viable, with no exceptions for cases of rape or incest and a very limited exception for cases in which the mother's life would be threatened. This bill immediately became a subject of controversy because it directly violated Roe v. Wade, ruled that a fetus could only be considered viable after 24 weeks at the earliest. But Mother Jones reported that since 2011, when Kasich signed this bill, eight of Ohio's 16 original abortion clinics have closed, and three of the remaining eight are still in danger of closing.
Then, in 2013 — shortly after Texas Sen. Wendy Davis' filibuster against anti-abortion legislation in her home state — Kasich signed even more restrictive measures into law as part of the Ohio state budget. According to a Washington Post article from July 2013, the new regulations would "make it more difficult for family planning groups to receive funding for preventive care; require ultrasounds for anyone seeking an abortion; and limit abortion providers’ ability to get transfer agreements with public hospitals." What this bill essentially did was make it more difficult to prevent pregnancy, more difficult to terminate pregnancy, and more difficult for low-income women to keep their children if they did give birth — so, women lost all around.
Kasich might not be the worst Republican possibility for feminists and other liberals; unlike many other Republicans, he acknowledges that climate change is a problem, is open to Obama's immigration plan, and said that he would not seek a constitutional amendment to allow states to oppose marriage equality, despite believing in "traditional marriage between a man and a woman." But when it comes to women's bodies, he doesn't seem able or willing to let us make our own decisions. A devout Catholic, Kasich has signed 11 anti-abortion bills during his time as Ohio governor, to the point where pro-choice organizations like NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio and Planned Parenthood have accused the Ohio legislature of trying to “regulate abortion out of existence.” So even if he seems moderate on some key issues, he should not be any feminist's choice for president in 2016.
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