For the first time in 16 years, the director of the Ohio Department of Health won’t be a doctor. Former state lawmaker Rick Hodges is currently the executive director of the Turnpike Commission. Statehouse correspondent Karen Kasler says that appointment is causing some controversy.
Abortion-rights advocates have been critical of the shutdown of abortion clinics under Gov. John Kasich.
Jamie Miracle with NARAL Pro Choice Ohio said the appointment of a political operative with only six years of experience in the health industry -- rather than a doctor -- is a problem.
“Is it because Kasich couldn’t find a trained medical professional willing to continue this witch hunt that he has started against abortion providers in Ohio?” Miracle said.
But Mike Gonidakis with Ohio Right to Life says for the first time, a medical director has been appointed at ODH to work alongside the agency director. The Ohio Hospital Association has put out a statement of support for Hodges. And Kasich’s spokesman dismissed the concerns as partisan, and said that Hodges is qualified or he would never have been appointed.