Dear John: Why Are You Afraid Of Feminists?

Dear John (Kasich):

It took me a few days to get up the courage to write you this open letter after you stood me up on Tuesday night. Me and 30 of my closest feminist friends waited peacefully outside of your Statehouse office for more than an hour, but we never saw you.

We wanted you to look us in the eyes as you headed into your chamber to sign the state’s budget bill. You know, the one stuffed with several unconstitutional anti-abortion regulations:

One provision stipulates that “transfer agreements” are only valid if the hospital is within 30 miles of the clinic, narrowing the shrinking pool of options even further. Another provision ensures that applications for waivers are automatically denied after 60 days, allowing the Department of Health to simply run out the clock as an indirect method of shutting down clinics.
— ThinkProgress.org, 'This State’s Attempt To ‘Regulate Abortion Out Of Existence’ Is Flying Under The Radar’, 6/29/2015

We gathered outside of your office to ask one small request of you: veto these back-door abortion restrictions from the budget.

Normally, we would have called you before just showing up outside of your door… Oh wait, we DID call your office, but no one answered. It went straight to voicemail every single time, even though we called during business hours on a Tuesday. It felt like you were avoiding us, despite the fact that we are your tax-paying constituents; the people who you were elected to represent.

So we showed up at the Statehouse to pass along our urgent message to you, our Governor, but instead we were met by the State Highway Patrol. Because a small group of feminists carrying hand-written notes is truly terrifying, I guess? As the officers questioned our group’s organizers, you slipped into your office through the back door like a coward. Like you were afraid of us. That had to be it, right?

Or maybe it wasn’t fear… maybe you just don’t give a damn about us? Yeah, I think that’s it. I came to this ugly realization when your Lieutenant Governor Mary Taylor mockingly muttered under her breath, “I wonder how many of these people are vegetarians?” as she walked past me and my friends on her way into your office.

You used your veto pen more than 40 times, yet you purposefully chose to NOT veto anti-abortion provisions that have absolutely NOTHING to do with the budget. You knew these provisions violate the Ohio Constitution’s "single subject" rule, but you left them in anyways. Despite Lucas County Judge Myron Duhart’s recent ruling that it was unconstitutional for legislators to sneak similar abortion restrictions into the budget, you still signed this bill. It’s painfully obvious that you and the rest of Ohio's Republican legislators have decided that you can just pick and choose when to obey the courts and Constitution.

Because of this legislation, at least three abortion clinics could close, leaving Ohio with just six clinics to serve the entire state. But that was the whole point of this, right? You and your anti-choice administration claim these regulations are for the health and safety of women, but that’s just a clever cover-up for the truth:

These restrictions are completely medically unnecessary. A transfer agreement doesn’t need a mile restriction because in the very rare case of a medical emergency, the patient will be taken to the nearest hospital. If a variance for a transfer agreement had any impact on patient safety, why did the Ohio Department of Health wait three years before ruling on one last week in Dayton? These are political gimmicks, not health care regulations. Their only purpose is to make it harder, if not impossible, to get an abortion in Ohio.
— Kellie Copeland, Executive Director of NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio, 7/1/15

The women of Ohio are keenly aware of your administration's strategy to quietly enact useless abortion regulations that make it nearly impossible for abortion facilities to legally operate, with the intention of closing every single abortion clinic in the state.

The new rules for abortion providers handed to the Ohio Department of Health were added without any public input from the department. Abortion providers had no opportunity to provide testimony to any Finance committee or subcommittee.
— NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio, "Ohio Women Condemn Sneaky Abortion Restrictions", 7/1/15

You seem to have forgotten that pro-choice women vote too. But we will not forget what you have done. While you’re on the Presidential campaign trail, the state will be wasting taxpayer dollars defending your administration's shady anti-abortion laws, which violate the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision that women have a legal right to safely access abortion without the government placing undue burdens in their way.

It’s pretty laughable that you think you stand a chance at winning a national election when you blatantly choose to ignore the constituents, courts, and constitution of your home state. Do you really think you’re going to beat Hillary Clinton when you can’t even look a small group of women in the eyes as you use the state budget to screw us over?

Best of luck with your current campaign strategy. I'm truly looking forward to watching you lose in 2016.

Sincerely,

Amanda Patton
Registered Voter & Patient Advocate at Capital Care Network of Toledo