Kasich is cutting women from Ohio’s budget. In an attempt to prove himself a conservative and worthy of the title of POTUS, he has taken a step towards joining the ranks of Trump and Cruz using fear and misogyny as primary tactics.
Beginning with his defunding of Planned Parenthood in Ohio, Kasich is participating in the ongoing marginalization of women in the US based on supposed Christian values. His comment that “women are coming out of the kitchen to support me” demonstrates his inability to recognize the important role that women play in this nation. Likewise, it shows support for the ongoing notion that women belong in the home, and idea firmly entrenched in Christian dogma.
The former Catholic now Anglican presidential candidate continues to buy into the idea of complementarity, that men and women have distinct roles, a teaching Pope Francis calls “an anthropological fact.” And what does this mean? That women belong in the home, rearing children, and cooking for their husbands while men do the “important” work.
Although Christianity was founded on principles related to social justice, those in power fail to recognize the interconnection of gendered issues with the injustices they seek to disrupt. And because of this, they misconstrue the tradition and use it as a weapon against women. Kasich is no exception.
In an attempt to highlight his “Christian” conservatism, Kasich attacked women’s health, safety, and livelihood by stripping $1.3 million in state grants slated for Planned Parenthood. As a result, services such as HIV testing, cancer screenings, and domestic violence prevention will be scarce for Ohio women. With stagnant poll numbers and the White House at stake, Kasich has used women as a pawn in a weak attempt to emerge as the frontrunner.
Using Christian morality as justification, women’s rights are often gambled with in the ongoing game of politics. Sadly, Kasich has used this pawn time and again. Shortly after becoming Governor in Ohio, Kasich limited women’s rights by banning abortions after 20 weeks. He stripped $1.4 million in family planning funds from Planned Parenthood in 2013, required ultrasounds for women seeking pregnancy termination, and cut funds from rape crisis centers that referred victims to abortion resources.
Denouncing Kasich’s act, Cecile Richards stated “It’s clear Kasich has no regard for women’s health or lives, and will stop at nothing to block health care for the tens of thousands of Ohioans who rely on Planned Parenthood.”
As Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has said, “Reproductive freedom is in a sorry situation in the United States.”
Women continue to be the most impoverished group in the nation due to the lack of access to reproductive health, low wages, high costs for childcare, and no paid parental leave. While Kasich has boasted a balanced budget in Ohio, single mothers continue to be the largest demographic living in poverty. Likewise, an average of $17 billion dollars is lost by women who are employed full time in the state of Ohio each year as a result of the wage gap.
While some have imaged Kasich as the moderate alternative and the “nice guy” in the Republican race, he is no different from other GOP candidates that leave women in a constant state of fear. Rationalizing stances with their “Christian” faith, many republicans perpetuate the notion that women’s value is less than. Attacking Planned Parenthood, women’s health, safety, and livelihood are viewed as not only reasonable, but necessary to maintain a society where women heed to their roles “in the kitchen.”
Kasich’s policies and misguided notions of religious ideals are directly connected to such outcomes for women leaving us at serious risk. And although he quickly apologized for his gaffe, his statement that women “came out of the kitchen” to support him demonstrates his continued idea that women’s roles are in the home, one that fuels his policies that leave women in a disadvantaged position.
With women bound to the home, there is no need for pay equity, parental leave, reproductive justice, and so on. Thus, to strip funding from services that directly impact women’s wellbeing is not only justified for Kasich, but also an opportunity to maintain the patriarchal status quo that keep women on the underside of dualism.
Kasich is only one among many white, male, and Christian candidates who use the political platform to marginalize women in hopes of riding our oppression all the way to the White House. And do so in the name of God.