A new budget signed into law by Ohio governor John Kasich provides state funding for rape counseling centers for the first time. The measure won Kasich praise from the Ohio Alliance to End Sexual Violence, but many Democrats attacked the governor because they said that the budget had imposed a "gag" on counseling centers that promote abortion. But as Ohio's 10TV.com reports, Democrats actually unanimously voted for the measure:
Ohio Democratic lawmakers are scrambling to explain why they have attacked Gov. John Kasich for a budget measure that restricts rape-crisis counseling when they supported a bill with nearly identical language last month.
"I'm sorry this happened, it doesn't look good," said longtime Democratic strategist Sam Gresham. "It affords the Republican Party to charge hypocrisy with regard to the campaign against women."
The amendment to Ohio's $62 billion, two-year state operating budget sets up a dedicated funding stream for rape crisis programs that receive state funding but don't refer for abortions.
Ohio Democratic Party Chairman Chris Redfern and state treasurer candidate Connie Pillich both criticized the measure in Twitter posts.
Each attacked Kasich in tweets for “placing gag rules on rape counselors.”
In fact, Democrats supported a stand-alone bill with identical language which was approved in the House on a 95-0 vote. The language was then tucked into the budget before it made it to the Senate.
Chris Redfern, the Ohio Democratic party chairman, is also a member of the state House of Representatives, so he personally voted for the measure he's now attacking.
The Center for American Progress falsely reported that the measure would "strip" funding from centers that promote abortion. But, again, this is a new funding provision, so no counseling centers will be stripped of sources of revenue they previously received.