GOP presidential candidate, Ohio Gov. John Kasich refused to answer This Week host George Stephanopoulos when he pressed him on whether or not doctors should be "punished" for performing abortions in the United States, and instead said that it should be "left up to the states" to decide how to handle that and what exceptions should be allowed.
Not that it matters much in the long run with what it ultimately means for women's reproductive health, as we've already discussed here, because Kasich has already done his best to make it impossible to get a safe and legal abortion in his state, and this is what we can expect more of on a national level if he or his ilk are elected president:
Trump and Cruz are scary -- but Kasich is so nice.
Um, no, he isn't:
Since becoming governor in 2011, Kasich has signed every anti-abortion measure placed before him -- 17 so far. He signed a bill that severely limits abortion access after 20 weeks and approved a ban on state-funded rape-crisis counselors’ referring clients to abortion services or even informing them of their right to end their pregnancy, even though he claims to support a rape exception. He signed a requirement that patients have (and pay for) an unnecessary ultrasound to test for a fetal heartbeat and be asked whether they want to listen to it (after they’re read a mandatory script written by anti-choice state legislators).... In February, he signed a bill depriving Planned Parenthood of $1.3 million in state and federal funding, including funds for a program to curb infant mortality. Pro-life!
The most important anti-choice measure Kasich signed, though, was one quietly included in the 2013 state budget requiring abortion clinics to have a transfer agreement with a local hospital. Transfer agreements serve no legitimate purpose, since any hospital has to see patients on an emergency basis -- and such emergencies are extremely rare in the case of abortion anyway.... the point is to make abortion practice impossible: Catholic hospitals won’t enter into such an arrangement, and public hospitals are legally barred from doing so. This seemingly innocuous requirement, supposedly to preserve women’s health and safety, has resulted in the closing of half the clinics in Ohio.
Kasich is no "moderate" on this issue, but that didn't stop him from doing his best to paint himself as one when Stephanopoulos pressed him on how his views differed from Trump's, now that the GOP frontrunner has made the mistake of actually saying out loud what most of these forced-birth Republicans believe, but don't want to openly admit.
KASICH: Well, George, I hope they -- they do repeal "Roe v. Wade" and then, you know, it will be up to the states to decide how -- how they want to proceed. It will be up to them to figure out what they want to do. And that's precisely what we would do.
STEPHANOPOULOS: But you said there are legitimate and constitutional restrictions that could be put on abortion.
What are they?
KASICH: Well, George, I don't -- you know, when you say constitutional restrictions or whatever (INAUDIBLE)...
STEPHANOPOULOS: Those are your words.
KASICH: -- the only thing I would tell you is I've been -- yes, well, I don't -- I don't know when I said it or why I said that in particular. It's probably out of context. But, look, I am opposed to abortion in except the case of rape, incest and life of the mother. I hope "Roe v. Wade" will be repealed. And -- and then it will be turned to the states and the states will have to figure out exactly what the restrictions ought to be, period, end of story.
STEPHANOPOULOS: So but if -- if you believe that abortion is taking of an innocent life, how would you enforce a ban on that activity?
KASICH: Well, that will be up to the states to figure out what they want to do. And, you know, obviously, when we have seen these comments that have come out earlier this week, it's the first time I've seen the pro-life and the pro-choice people come together to say, you know, that we'll have to basically work this out and trying to punish a woman would not be the appropriate way to behave.
And I think it's going to take people, in a reasonable way, working through it.
STEPHANOPOULOS: But why isn't it appropriate? If you believe that abortion is the taking of innocent life, why shouldn't a woman who makes the choice to take that life face some kind of punishment or sanctions?
KASICH: Because I think it's difficult on her to begin with, that's the way I feel about it, George. And that's the end of it.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Even if it follows that a woman is making the choice to take a life?
KASICH: Look, I've said what I have to say about the subject, George. You know how I have behaved both as a legislator and as a governor, and I would like to have those exceptions. I would like to leave it to those exceptions. And it'll be up to the states to decide how they want to handle this.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Do you believe doctors who perform abortions should be punished?
KASICH: We're going to leave this up to the states to work this out the way they want to, George.
STEPHANOPOULOS: So, you're not going to take any position on doctors facing punishment?
KASICH: Right now -- let me just put to you, this way I'm not. Today I'm not. I've just told you how I feel about it.
STEPHANOPOULOS: So, if you're still governor of Ohio, what would you seek to do?
KASICH: Work with the legislature to figure out is a good consensus to do. In Ohio, we have made sure that we have transfer agreements. These are things that we have done. And I've been very careful about making sure that we don't pass something that's going to cause a constitutional conflict, which is I think what you were referring to so that the restrictions that we put in place are going to be fine. And I think we've behaved there and conducted ourselves appropriately.