Apparently Republicans in the state of Ohio didn’t quite get the message from the election. Rather than back off unpopular efforts to restrict access to reproductive health care, they’ve gone all in, renewing efforts to strip family-planning dollars from Planned Parenthood and reviving the once-dead “heartbeat bill” which purports to ban abortions as soon as a heartbeat is detected.
Stephanie Kight, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood Advocates of Ohio, reacted to news of the renewed attacks on women’s reproductive health care in a statement. “Just days ago, in an election where the stakes for women’s health were higher and clearer than they have ever been, Ohio voted to protect a woman’s ability to make her own personal medical decisions without interference from politicians,” Kight said. “The announcement to focus on these dangerous bills now makes Ohio a ‘battleground state’ once again.”
Exit polling from the national election showed that, of those voters who thought health care was most important, the vast majority are not with politicians who want to interfere with women’s private medical decision-making. To reinforce that fact, President Obama won Ohio women by 11 percent.
Despite the renewed attacks, women’s health advocates are determined not to back down. “No politician in Columbus can get in the way of Planned Parenthood’s commitment to fight for Ohio women. Planned Parenthood and our 170,000 supporters statewide will make sure politicians hear us loud and clear,” Kight said. “It’s time to call off their campaign against women’s health and focus instead on the issues Ohioans care about: Growing jobs, rebuilding the economy, and supporting health care and education for all.”
Over the last two years, Ohio witnessed the most aggressive legislative attacks on women’s health and rights in a generation. In this last session, Ohio legislators have considered 13 different bills that put politicians where they don’t belong: right in the middle of women’s personal medical decisions.
The insistence on bringing these bills up right on the heels of a historic electoral loss suggests only two possibilities. Either the GOP really didn’t get the message from voters, or they intend to punish voters by pushing their own agenda, consequences be damned. Regardless of the reason, Ohio women once again find their health and their bodies political footballs for the Christian conservatives. Meanwhile, women’s health advocates must prepare for another gruesome battle in state legislatures over the fundamental rights of women.
Can you imagine how bad this would be if Mitt Romney and Republicans had actually won?
Photo from progressOhio via flickr.