Ohio took a significant step toward cutting federal funds to Planned Parenthood this week. House Republicans added an amendment to a budget bill that would effectively redirect funds away from the family-planning organization. The move infuriated state Democrats, with Senator Nina Turner telling The Daily Beast, “It’s a social, racial, and economic attack. Most of the women who are affected are poor, or black, or brown. It’s becoming a sin in this country to be poor and female.”
The amendment, added to a midterm budget bill on Tuesday, doesn’t specifically name Planned Parenthood, but it restructures federal funding in a way that would make Planned Parenthood and other nonprofit, specialized family-planning centers the lowest priority for funds. The state health department would instead give top priority to “community-health clinics and similar health facilities operated by state, county, or local government entities,” according to the bill. “To the extent funds are available after the department determines that all eligible public entities have been funded ... the department may award funds to nonpublic entities.”
Sen. Turner, who says the bill is designed to penalize Planned Parenthood for providing abortion services, is fighting the legislation with an online campaign. She expects the bill to pass the state House and Senate by Memorial Day, as both chambers have a Republican majority. Ohio Governor John Kasich, a Republican, would then have an opportunity to veto the bill. Sen. Turner sees the likelihood of that as “slim to none.” She adds, “The governor has the chance to stand up for women, for poor and working-class women. I try to remain hopeful. The governor has two daughters himself. I wish people would look at this through a larger lens. This fixation on women and what they do with their bodies, it’s insane. We’re grown women, not little girls. We can make our own decisions.”
Governor Kasich was not immediately available for comment.
Anti-abortion activists praised the proposed legislation. Mike Gonidakis, president of Ohio Right to Life, said in a statement, “Ohio’s abortion industry will no longer feed at the taxpayer trough. Instead, these dedicated health-care funds will be offered to those entities where a vast majority of low-income women and their children seek responsible and life-saving services.” He added, “With approximately 290 different options available for need-based health care, it is vital for the general assembly to advance this measure to ensure women have access to health care.”
Ohio Right to Life singled out state Representatives Kristina Roegner, Cliff Rosenberger, and Ron Amstutz for the legislation.
None of the three representatives were immediately available for comment.
Sen. Turner points out that federal funds do not go to abortion services at Planned Parenthood, but to preventive services and cancer screenings. “Republicans never let the truth get in the way of a good story,” she says. She adds, “Many single-parent homes are led by mothers. What if she gets sick? What happens to the family? It’s insanity. We’re not even second-class citizens. We’re third class. We are talking about real flesh-and-blood women here. I think that’s what Republicans are missing—it’s as if they’re making decisions for mannequins. It’s a real WTF moment.”
“We’re not even second-class citizens. We’re third class. We are talking about real flesh-and-blood women here. I think that’s what Republicans are missing—it’s as if they’re making decisions for mannequins.”
Gary Dougherty, the state legislative director for Planned Parenthood in Ohio, says women who visit Planned Parenthood centers aren’t making a political statement, but seeking health care. The organization says its 32 Ohio centers provide nearly 100,000 women with cancer screenings, birth control, prevention and treatment of STDs, breast-health services, pap tests, sexual-health education, and health counseling. Doughtery adds that under Ohio’s proposed restructuring of federal funds, Planned Parenthood would be ineligible to receive funding under both the Violence Against Women Act and the Breast and Cervical Cancer Mortality Prevention Act, among others. He said Planned Parenthood is currently studying the bill and that some of the language is “undefined.”
Several other states have either tried or are currently trying to channel federal funds away from Planned Parenthood, including Indiana, North Carolina, Tennessee, Kansas, Texas, Arizona, Iowa, Michigan, Nebraska, New Hampshire, and Oklahoma. The proposed legislation varies from state to state, according to a Planned Parenthood spokeswoman. “Some proposals attempt to prohibit Planned Parenthood from participating in federal programs like Medicaid and Title X, while others attempt to block Planned Parenthood from participating in state family-planning programs,” she says. “Several states are attempting to defund Planned Parenthood by creating tiered funding schemes that prioritize providers in such a way that would all but guarantee that Planned Parenthood would receive little to no funding.” A hearing is scheduled in Texas today to address a lawsuit that Planned Parenthood filed in federal court against the Texas health department.
Sen. Turner made national headlines earlier this spring when she proposed a bill that would make it more difficult for men to get Viagra, calling on men to undergo psychological counseling and medical screening to make sure they are mentally and physically equipped to take the medication. “I was just listening to some of this stuff that’s going on around the country and I thought, I just can’t take it anymore,” she says. “Yes, there’s a satire element to this, and I think people learn from it.” As for her proposed bill’s current status, she says, “I haven’t gotten a hearing yet.”
Sen. Turner she wants women to “lift their voices.” She adds, “I hope women wake up and use their power to clear our governors’ mansions throughout this country. This is about people's right to control their destinies. Oh wait, that's only for men, only for wealthy folks? Sometimes I think these men were hatched, not birthed. They have a hatred for women.”
There's no question -- the midterm elections this fall are consequential. In Washington, they will determine not only whether Democrats retain control of the Senate, but also whether our nation has a chance to solve real problems for American families or if President Obama will have to veto his way through his final two years in office.
What we must also remember is that this election is crucial in states across the country. While progress has been stymied by gridlock in Congress, state legislatures made lopsided by gerrymandered districts have wasted...
Jeff Johnson, Rev. Jesse Jackson | The Huffington Post 24 Sep 2014 Hits:239 Ohio
Federal and state governments do not do enough to safeguard drinking water around the nearly 200,000 wells where fracking wastewater is injected deep underground, according to a federal report.
The U.S. Government Accountability Office investigation found that existing regulations do not adequately protect against contamination that could occur after earthquakes, which is increasingly a concern at injection wells and fracking sites in Ohio and out west.
In some states, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency oversees injection wells. On others, state agencies, such as the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, regulates oil...
Laura Arenschield | The Columbus Dispatch 11 Aug 2014 Hits:423 Ohio
Ohio Gov. John Kasich’s (R) environmental record took a turn for the worse last week when he approved rolling back the state’s renewable energy standards. The Buckeye State became the nation’s first to go backwards in this area.
But it’s not the only trouble area for the Ohio governor as it relates to environmental policy.
We learned in February that Kasich had originally endorsed hydraulic fracturing – better known as “fracking” – on public land, though he reversed course under unusual circumstances. In 2012, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, which is responsible for...
Steve Benen | The Maddow Blog 02 Jun 2014 Hits:471 Ohio
Proponents of marriage equality have been on quite a winning streak in the courts, targeting anti-gay laws in states across the country. That streak continued this morning in Ohio.
U.S. District Court Judge Timothy Black has formally ruled that Ohio must recognize same-sex marriages performed legally in other states, but he put a hold on his order for the time being.
“Ohio’s marriage recognition is facially unconstitutional and unenforceable under any circumstances,” Black said in an order he announced verbally 10 days ago.
“It is this court’s responsibility to give meaning and effect to...
Steve Benen | The Maddow Blog 14 Apr 2014 Hits:391 Ohio
John Arthur is dying. He is in the terminal stages of Lou Gehrig’s disease and has entered hospice care. Arthur is also gay, and in a 20 year relationship with a man named Jim Obergefell. Because the couple’s home state of Ohio will not allow them to marry, Arthur and Obergefell recently flew to Maryland together and were legally married on the tarmac — just weeks after the Supreme Court’s landmark marriage equality decision in United States v. Windsor. Arthur was unable to rise from his hospice bed.
In his final...
Ian Millhiser | Think Progress 25 Jul 2013 Hits:585 Ohio
If convicted of hacking-related charges, Deric Lostutter could get more jail time than the rapists he went after.
In April, the FBI quietly raided the home of the hacker known as KYAnonymous in connection with his role in the Steubenville rape case. Today he spoke out for the first time about the raid, his true identity, and his motivations for pursuing the Steubenville rapists, in an extensive interview with Mother Jones.
"The goal of the media interviews is to get the entire nation to say 'fuck you' to these guys," said KYAnonymous,...
Josh Harkinson | Mother Jones 07 Jun 2013 Hits:761 Ohio
Sanitation Workers Go On Unfair Labor Practice Strike; Co-Workers in Evansville, Ind. and Urbana, Ill. Refuse To Work In Show of Support
YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio, March 28, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Sanitation workers employed by Republic Services/Allied Waste [NYSE: RSG] went on strike in Ohio last night to protest the company's violations of federal labor law. Workers at Republic's Carbon Limestone landfill outside of Youngstown put up a picket line instead of reporting to their shifts late yesterday.
The striking workers are members of Teamsters Local Union 377. They are exercising their rights under federal law to strike in protest of Republic illegally...
PR Newswire 29 Mar 2013 Hits:865 Ohio
Ben Lupo, owner of D&L Energy and Hardrock Excavating, pleaded not guilty Thursday to federal felony charges under the Clean Water Act.
Lupo is accused of ordering the dumping of thousands of gallons of chemical-laced fracking waste into streams in Youngstown, Ohio.
On the night of January 31, state investigators acted on an anonymous tip and caught Lupo's employees dumping oil and gas drilling waste - fluid, mud and oil - into a storm sewer that empties into a tributary of the Mahoning River, according to the Justice Department.
Lupo admitted to state authorities...
Mike Ludwig | Truthout 16 Feb 2013 Hits:1084 Ohio
Ohio Gov. John Kasich (R) has joined the growing list of Republican governors pushing income tax cuts for the wealthiest citizens of his state, and like those other governors, his plan would raise taxes on the poor to pay for it.
Kasich’s plan would cut income tax rates by 20 percent and some business tax rates in half, and it would pay for the plan by levying sales taxes on goods and services that were previously exempt. Since sales taxes are inherently regressive, Kasich’s plan would raise taxes on the poorest...
Travis Waldron | Think Progress 08 Feb 2013 Hits:731 Ohio
Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted is fast becoming one of the most despised election officials in the country for his many attempts to restrict early voting and throw out legitimate provisional ballots. He’s also alienating federal judges left and right. After Husted issued a last-minute directive that could invalidate thousands of Ohioans’ votes, US District Judge Algenon Marbley did not bother to hide his impatience with the secretary’s hijinks.
Husted’s directive, which was issued at 7 pm on the Friday before the election, openly...
Aviva Shen | Think Progress 10 Nov 2012 Hits:976 Ohio
Pollsters and pundits have trained their eyes on Ohio, where President Obama maintains a narrow lead over Mitt Romney just days before the election. According to exit polls, Obama’s lead is even stronger among early voters. But several recent developments threaten to disenfranchise many of these voters and plunge Ohio into a bureaucratic nightmare on election night.
The Columbus Dispatch reported on Thursday that a data-sharing glitch and mistakes by election officials have caused thousands of absentee ballot requests to be rejected. While Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted maintains that...
Aviva Shen | ThinkProgress 03 Nov 2012 Hits:990 Ohio
Those anonymous billboards in Ohio and Wisconsin that equate voting with a possible prison sentence are coming down, to be replaced in some cases by new ones that say, "Voting is a right. Not a crime!"
After initially defending the billboards paid for by a "private family foundation," the advertising company Clear Channel has announced that it will take down the scary billboards. Their message -- "Voter fraud is a felony! Up to 3 1/2 years & $10,000 fine" -- has been presented now in dozens of...
Laura Conaway | The Maddow Blog 22 Oct 2012 Hits:844 Ohio
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Republican vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan says the idea that Mitt Romney would raise taxes on the middle-class is a misperception being spread by negative ads from the Obama campaign.
Ryan was asked by a supporter during a campaign stop Wednesday in Columbus, Ohio, to dispel the notion. The Wisconsin congressman says he and Romney have cut taxes in the past and plan to continue to do so if elected.
Ryan joined 11 supporters over dinner at an Italian restaurant on Columbus' east side.
The event gave...
Julie Carr Smyth | Yahoo News / Associate Press 17 Oct 2012 Hits:744 Ohio
The Supreme Court said Tuesday that early voting can proceed in Ohio — a major win for President Obama.
In a one-sentence order with no explanation, the court rejected Ohio Republicans' efforts to block early voting three days before Election Day. The court left in place a lower court's ruling that said early voting had to be available to all Ohioans — not just military personnel.
Democrats initiated the legal battle over Ohio's early voting policy after state officials decided to eliminate three days of early voting...
Sam Baker | The Hill 16 Oct 2012 Hits:735 Ohio
The move is designed to thwart voting by Democrats on the last weekend before Election Day.
Ohio’s Republican Secretary of State John Husted is deteremined to stop upwards of 100,000 Ohioans—many of whom are African-American churchgoers who live in the state’s cities—from voting on the Sunday before Election Day in November.
Husted has been smacked down by a succession of federal court ruling in his efforts to curtail early voting on the final weekend before Election Day on November 6 th. But on Tuesday, his office...
Steven Rosenfeld | AlterNet 09 Oct 2012 Hits:912 Ohio
Once again, political experts are predicting that the 2012 presidential election could be decided in the battleground state of Ohio, like it was in 2004.
Remember what happened that year? George W. Bush won the state by a narrow 118,000 votes in an election marred by widespread electoral dysfunction. “The misallocation of voting machines led to unprecedented long lines that disenfranchised scores, if not hundreds of thousands, of predominantly minority and Democratic voters,” found a post-election report by Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee....
Ari Berman | The Nation 09 Oct 2012 Hits:880 Ohio
As the facts of this case demonstrated, cutting off early voting will endanger many voters’ ability to cast a vote.
A unanimous panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit affirmed a lower court’s decision striking down Ohio’s recent law limiting early voting . Although the panel divided on its reasoning, all three judges concluded that the law has serious constitutional deficiencies. Themajority opinion was written by Judge Eric Clay, a Clinton appointee, and Judge Joseph Hood, a George H.W. Bush appointee.
As the facts of this case...
Ian Millhiser | Think Progress 05 Oct 2012 Hits:853 Ohio
After previously trying to restrict early voting, Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted (R) today reversed course on his decision to block county boards of elections from setting their own early voting hours in the days leading up to the November election.
Last month, Husted and Ohio Republicans led an effort to limit early voting hours in Democratic counties, including those with major cities like Columbus and Cleveland, while expanding early voting in Republican counties. After the ensuing uproar, Husted moved to restrict voting hours...
Scott Keyes | Think Progress 08 Sep 2012 Hits:855 Ohio
The GOP's war on voting in this key swing state is getting uglier.
Ohio’s Republican Secretary of State John Husted is playing with political fire.
On Friday, a U.S. District Court ordered Ohio’s Secretary of State to open polling places on the weekend before November’s presidential election, issuing an ruling that said voting on that weekend could serve 100,000 voters, particularly minorities and the poor.
Earlier today, Husted responded by thumbing his nose at that injunction—which relied on the federal Voting Rights Act—by issuing a directive telling Ohio...
Steven Rosenfeld | AlterNet 04 Sep 2012 Hits:841 Ohio
Last month, President Obama’s reelection campaign filed a lawsuit claiming that a recently enacted Ohio law eliminating early voting in the three days before an election, except for members of the military, violates the Constitution’s guarantee that all voters enjoy equal access to the franchise. The campaign’s lawsuit called for the right of all voters to cast an early ballot be restored in Ohio — it explicitly stated that expanding the franchise, not taking early voting away from military personnel as well, was the appropriate outcome.
Ian Millhiser 31 Aug 2012 Hits:1058 Ohio
Last Wednesday August 15th, Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted issued a directive requiring specific rules and operating hours for county boards of elections. Specifically, the directive eliminated early voting on weekends, and barred all boards of elections from being open on Columbus Day. The directive further raised questions about postage being paid for on absentee ballot envelopes. Ranking Member John Conyers, Jr. (D-Mich.) and Congresswoman Marcia L. Fudge (D-Ohio) released this statement in response:
“The actions of the Ohio Secretary of State appear to have the effect of suppressing the...
Congressman John Conyers | Press Release 24 Aug 2012 Hits:678 Ohio
Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted’s recent decision to prohibit early voting on nights and weekends in all districts has many concerned about the effect on voter turnout in…
In a dramatic move, Ohio Secretary of State John Husted immediately suspended two Democrats on a county election board after they voted to allow weekend voting.
Earlier, Husted issued…
Voting rights are under attack in more than a dozen states, including Ohio. Legislatures, most controlled by Republicans, have passed laws to require voters to show photo identification, restrict early…
For the last four years, Republican lawmakers around the country have diligently tried to eliminate early-voting periods, which give people a chance to vote at their convenience. The reason is simple:…
Photo Credit: AFP
Investigations by the FBI into campaign donations and strong-arm tactics in Ohio's Republican Party implicate big-name politicians, like anti-union Governor John Kasich.
Ohio governor John Kasich has…
Don't Frack Ohio
On May 24, the Ohio’s State Assembly passed Senate Bill 315—one of the worst fracking laws in the nation—by a 21-8 vote in the Senate and a 73-19…
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Doctors given new access to the proprietary chemical recipes that oil and gas drillers use to crack into Ohio shale would be prohibited from…
(Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call File Photo)
Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio) will not seek a House seat in Washington state this year after losing a primary to a fellow Democratic …
A proposed state budget bill would effectively strip federal funding to the family-planning organization. Sen. Nina Turner tells Abigail Pesta, “It’s a social, racial, and economic attack.”
PDA is organized around several core issues. These issues include:
Each team hosts a monthly conference call. Calls feature legislators, staffers and other policy experts. On these calls we determine PDA legislation to support as well as actions and future events.