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Ohio Move to Defund Planned Parenthood Moves Onto the Campaign Trail

Hillary Clinton called on Ohio Gov. John Kasich (R) to take time from his busy GOP presidential primary campaign stops last week to veto legislation that would rip $1.3 million worth of government funding out of the budget of Planned Parenthood of Greater Ohio.

House Bill 294 would cut off federal and state funding to “perform or promote non-therapeutic abortions” and to entities that contract with providers of abortions for any reason except to save the life of the mother. They would also no longer receive money for infant mortality prevention, HIV testing, breast and cervical cancer testing, or programs under the Violence Against Women Act.

The $1.3 million in state and federal funding would instead go to Ohio Department of Health programs and federal agencies that run programs intended to help women and children but don’t get involved in abortions.

While Clinton was advising Kasich to block the legislation, Ohio Right to Life applauded the Ohio Senate for passing H.B. 294 on Jan. 27 by a 22-8 margin.

The Ohio House passed the bill in 2015. It will have to go back to the lower chamber for concurrence of some minor changes made by the Senate. Then it goes to Kasich.

The Ohio House does not go back into session until Feb. 9, so Kasich could receive the bill to defund Planned Parenthood in early February. When he does, Clinton urged Kasich to put away his pen.

“During his time in office, Gov. Kasich has repeatedly attacked reproductive health and rights, signing 16 laws that have made it increasingly difficult for women to access vital reproductive health care and significantly decreased the number of health centers that provide access to safe and legal abortion,” Clinton said in a statement, reported by the Columbus Dispatch.

“It’s time for Gov. Kasich to put the health and well-being of his constituents ahead of his own political ambitions and veto this bill to defund Planned Parenthood,” Clinton said.

Speaking of "political ambitions," it’s not like Clinton doesn’t have a dog in this fight. After all, Planned Parenthood endorsed her presidential bid Jan. 7, the first time the organization had ever put its stamp of approval on a politician.

Clinton said in a statement to the New York Times that she was “honored” by the endorsement and said the GOP's move to defund Planned Parenthood was “a jarring reminder of what’s at stake in 2016.”

She also promised to “defend against attacks on reproductive healthcare, and protect access to affordable contraception and safe and legal abortion across the country.”

Joe Andrews, Gov. Kasich’s press secretary, told PJM that although the legislation still had to go through the House “the governor is expected to sign the bill when we do receive it.”