Governor Refuses To Say Why He Signed A Rape Gag Rule Into Law

CREDIT: AP Photo/Tony Dejak

Ohio Gov. John Kasich

On Saturday, during a meeting with the Plain Dealer editorial board, Gov. John Kasich (R-OH) repeatedly refused to answer questions about why he signed into law a budget that included a provision prohibiting state-funded rape crisis counselors from referring women to abortion services.

The measure, described by critics as “a gag rule,” also strips funding from Planned Parenthood, “blocks public hospitals from arranging transfer agreements with abortion clinics and requires abortion providers to provide ultra sounds on women seeking abortions,” Reuters reported. Clinics that do refer patients to abortion doctors will have their public funding suspended.

But during a heated six-minute exchange about the issue, Kasich would not explain why he supported such a policy. The governor initially shrugged off the pointed question from Democratic challenger Edward FitzGerald and shifted uncomfortably in his seat. Asked again by a member of the paper’s editorial board, Kasich simply reiterated his support for pro-life policies, including an abortion exception in cases of “rape, incest, and life of the mother,” but did not explain how the gag rule advanced that viewpoint. Watch it:

FitzKasichGagLaw3 from PBVIMEO on Vimeo.

“Why is it pro-life to have a gag rule for a rape crisis counselor,” FitzGerald pressed repeatedly. “If the woman is pregnant because of a rape, why is that pro-life?”

Kasich, however, wouldn’t say, adding only “at the end of the day, I’m going to do what I think is a pro-life, you know, being in a position of being pro-life. There is nothing more I can say about it, I’ve said everything there is to say about it.”

Polls have repeatedly shown that Americans overwhelmingly support maintaining access to abortion services in cases of rape, with 74 percent saying “it should be legal when a woman becomes pregnant as a result of rape or incest.”