Ads aimed at 2014 election hit airwaves in parts of Ohio

Budget’s abortion stance, health care at issue


Planned Parenthood will begin airing a TV ad in central Ohio today criticizing Republican Gov. John Kasich for signing a two-year state budget which “targets family planning centers” and specifically prohibits counselors at rape-crisis centers from discussing abortions as an option with victims.

The Planned Parenthood ad is one of two going up in Ohio this week that involves Mr. Kasich in some form. The other ad, from the conservative Koch brothers’ Americans for Prosperity, is designed to sow doubt about President Obama’s health care initiative. The ad does not mention Mr. Kasich or one of his chief proposals — expanding the state’s Medicaid program to cover more poor Ohioans — but Medicaid expansion is part of what is often called “Obamacare.”

Planned Parenthood’s ad does mention Mr. Kasich specifically. Misha Barnes, managing director of public affairs for Planned Parenthood of Greater Ohio, said the ad “is about Gov. Kasich signing restrictions to rape-crisis centers.”

“It’s so egregious that we are talking about restricting someone’s access to health care during what is a very vulnerable time in a woman’s life,” Ms. Barnes said.

There were several provisions in the budget Mr. Kasich signed June 30 that are linked to restricting abortions, including one that essentially cuts the access Planned Parenthood clinics had to federal funding to pay for nonabortion-related counseling and health care. But Planned Parenthood chose to include the one abortion provision that actually received unanimous, bipartisan support in a separate bill earlier last month.

All House Democrats supported House Bill 108, which established a funding stream for rape-crisis centers but prohibited counselors from discussing abortions as an option with victims. Identical language from that bill was used in the budget, and Republicans who supported both called Democrats hypocrites for criticizing Kasich over the “gag order” provision.

“We’re a nonpartisan organization, so that wasn’t a factor in considering what issue we wanted to focus on,” Ms. Barnes said.

Planned Parenthood’s initial ad buy is for $100,000, includes an online ad campaign, and will run for a week.

TV viewers in Toledo won’t see it, but online computer users may spot advertisements promoting the video on sites such as Facebook and Google.

Details are still being worked out for Internet ads, but Planned Parenthood spokesman Celeste Ribbins expects them to be online this week.

“If we were going to make an investment, we wanted to make an investment where the majority of people are and that is online,” she said.

The 30-second TV ad will be shown at: youtube/​2Go_0YBbJzM.

A spokesman for Americans for Prosperity did not immediately return a message seeking comment for its ad, which features a white female who says her son was experiencing seizures and questions how the Affordable Care Act would affect the care her son receives.

Asked if the Americans for Prosperity effort would hurt his own push to expand Medicaid coverage in Ohio, Mr. Kasich said, “I don’t know if it does.”

“Medicaid expansion is no different than the current Medicaid program, and to try to tie Medicaid to Obamacare, I don’t see the connection,” Mr. Kasich said.

What Mr. Kasich proposed was an expansion of the state’s Medicaid program to provide 275,000 additional poor Ohioans with health insurance — fully funded by the federal government for three years.

“I mean it may have been provided in there, but it was John Roberts, the Republican chief justice appointed by President Bush who said states can have the option to extend their Medicaid coverage,” Mr. Kasich said.

In the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark 5-4 ruling that President Obama’s Affordable Care Act was constitutional last summer, Justice Roberts did indeed rule (in his majority opinion) that states could expand Medicaid if they chose. But what Justice Roberts was actually ruling was that states could not be compelled to expand their Medicaid programs to provide insurance to those who can’t afford it, which was the law’s original intent.

“Everybody wants to run ads — let them run them,” Mr. Kasich said.

“I just think this is such a compelling argument, we’ll keep pushing for” Medicaid expansion.

The Americans for Prosperity ad is running in several states at a total cost of $1 million — it was not immediately clear how much the conservative group spent in Ohio.