BREAKING—WHO/O AND NASW OHIO FILE FEDERAL SUIT AGAINST LEBANON'S ANTI-ABORTION ORDINANCE

Graphic reading, "BREAKING: National Association of Social Workers and Women Have Options Ohio File Federal Lawsuit Challenging Lebanon's Anti-Abortion Ordinance"

BREAKING—WHO/O AND NASW OHIO FILE FEDERAL SUIT AGAINST LEBANON'S ANTI-ABORTION ORDINANCE

Represented by the ACLU of Ohio and Democracy Forward, we have joined the National Association of Social Workers - Ohio in filing federal suit against Lebanon's anti-abortion ordinance. Adopted nearly one year ago, the ordinance is one of nearly 40 local bans across the country, seeking to criminalize and ban abortion within city limits. Let's be clear: this ban is a grievous constitutional violation that is all-encompassing AND vague, leaving citizens enraged and baffled.

The ordinance is the only local ban currently enacted in Ohio, and while no clinics reside in city limits, the ban prohibits anyone from obtaining, facilitating, or promoting abortion even outside city limits. The vague language & scope of these prohibitions means that individuals do not have fair notice or expectation of what may be considered misconduct under this ordinance. 

Enough is enough. We will not stand by idly as governments trample the rights of the citizens they supposedly serve. WHO/O's Board Chair, Jordyn Close, states, "The work we do to help people access abortion in Ohio and the Midwest helps our communities thrive. As the only statewide abortion fund, we will not be intimidated, and we are not going anywhere. We will continue to stand up to our oppressors who have launched this attack on our bodily autonomy. These attacks against abortion care are meant to stigmatize and restrict access and prevent us from supporting Ohioans. We will not be harassed or intimidated out of serving Ohio, in the courts or anywhere else. We will protect our staff, our volunteers and our donors. We are proud to fight back, and will always stand up for Reproductive Justice." 

WHO/O will continue providing updates on this lawsuit as they are available. Regardless of Roe, Lebanon's ordinance is a clear violation of established constitutional rights of free speech and due process. The people of Ohio cannot and will not be subject to the whims of extremists that do not represent our state's or country's support for abortion access. 

Below is the ACLU of Ohio & Democracy Forward's full release. Please direct any questions regarding the suit's specifics to the contacts listed on the release. 

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Ohio’s Statewide Abortion Fund Reacts to SCOTUS Intent to Overturn Roe v. Wade

To read this statement via Word document, click here.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE— Sam Woodring (she/her); Women Have Options Ohio; [email protected]

Ohio’s Statewide Abortion Fund Reacts to SCOTUS Intent to Overturn Roe v. Wade: Women Have Options Ohio (WHO/O) Condemns SCOTUS Draft, Calls Ohioans to Action

COLUMBUS, Ohio (May 3, 2022)—Late yesterday evening, a leaked draft opinion from the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) shows the Court’s intent to completely overturn protections for abortion access outlined in Roe v. Wade and Casey v. Planned Parenthood.

Justice Samuel Alito writes for the majority that, “We hold that Roe and Casey must be overruled.” The February draft continues, “Roe was egregiously wrong from the start. Its reasoning was exceptionally weak, and the decision has had damaging consequences.” WHO/O is exceptionally dismayed with the Court’s regressive stance, holding that this decision will ultimately lead to the oppression of countless Ohioans. WHO/O stands in solidarity with the organizers and activists who intend to rally at the Supreme Court of Ohio tonight, May 3, at 5:00 pm. 

Chair of WHO/O’s Board of Directors & abortion storyteller, Jordyn Close, comes out against  the decision, “Their [SCOTUS’] decision is blatantly a product of extremist, anti-choice rhetoric that plagues conversations about reproductive freedom. Every abortion ban, no matter the level of restriction, are tools of oppression. All abortion bans are racist, classist and dangerous. The oppression of our bodies, especially of Black and brown Ohioans is tactical, and our liberation will never be handed down in the form of a Court opinion. WHO/O will continue organizing, funding, and rallying around the framework of true Reproductive Justice, created & sustained by Black womxn.”

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WHO/O Leadership Transition

Dear WHO/O Community & Supporters,

In the last few years you have seen Women Have Options - Ohio adapt to the changing landscape of abortion access and even expand our capacity to provide funding, all while clarifying our values and coming into deeper alignment with racial and reproductive justice. As an organization, we believe firmly that we must be flexible and open to growth in order to meet the needs of our community and our staff. We also believe that you, our community and donors, deserve transparency during our transition moments so that you can trust in our values and our services, especially in turbulent times.

It is with a dedication to you all, then, that we want to share about the work we have been doing to address internal harm.

The WHO/O board was made aware of harm done by executive level staff within the organization and the larger Ohio reproductive access coalition community. Among other issues we became aware of a deep disconnect between our stated values and the environment in which our staff were expected to work, as well as our collective failure to address racialized harm and support our practical support staff. As board members, we are all in our individual processes of pain, anger, shock, and dismay. We are also all firmly committed to implementing a just and transformative process to move WHO/O and the Ohio repro community forward towards authentic anti-racist values based in the tenets of Reproductive Justice.

We know whole communities are responsible for creating a culture of permissible harm, and so as a board we take accountability for our collective missteps that allowed this situation to develop internally and are committed to working toward a better organization.

Accountability for us looks like working with a conflict transformation mediator, undergoing radical values realignment and strategic planning, participating in anti-racism training for our white staff and board members, and revising our organizational policies to create both firmer protections for workers as well as proactive anti-oppressive cultural expectations. We are excited and optimistic that these changes will propel us forward, and sustain us in our mission of abortion access for all.

We are also delighted to share that our former board member, Maggie Scotece, has accepted the role of Interim Executive Director of WHO/O. Maggie has been vital in advocating for safety policies and negotiating the business of transition throughout this time. She, along with our newly appointed Board Chair Jordyn Close, will be prioritizing culture change work, including a review of employment equity models, and a proposal to change WHO/O’s name - after all, we know that it’s not just women who have abortions. Our goal after the interim period is for Maggie to step down into a permanent role on WHO/O’s staff, and to offer the Executive Director role to the most qualified candidate, with a focus on attracting dynamic BIPOC candidates and identifying a leader with lived experience who can shepherd all of us forward in our values.

In the meantime, We Are Still Funding Abortions! In December and January alone, our phenomenal staff have distributed  $57,407 in funding to clinics and patients! And we are setting our sights on expansion: more staff, more services, and more funding.

It is clear we have a mountain of work ahead of us to transition, transform, and align our organization with our desired values. And yet, we are no strangers to breaking barriers in fighting for equity, and remaining resilient in protecting each other's humanity. We have undergone many radical shifts throughout our history - from our first patient grant in 1992, to our first staff position in 2016, to remaining the only statewide abortion fund in Ohio. This transition is just another step in upholding our commitment to justice for all of the people we serve.

It takes strength to remain rooted in your values. We at WHO/O - from the staff, executive board, and leadership - remain stronger than ever in fulfilling the organization's mission to provide economic and reproductive freedom, and for abortion to be accessible to all people.

Sincerely,

 

Women Have Options - Ohio Executive Board Members & Staff

Rhiannon Carnes 

Jordyn Close, Chair

Julia D'Agostino

Cierra Dammons

Alana Garrett-Ferguson

Mason Hickman

Kimberley Mason

Samantha Sizemore

Danielle Smith

Mytheli Sreenivas

Sri Thakkilapati

 

Maggie Scotece, Interim ED

Michelle D., Patient Navigation & Practical Support 

Lexi D., Patient Navigation & Practical Support 

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Board Statement of Solidarity w/ Abortion Access Day of Justice

 

WHO-O stands in solidarity with the Reproductive Justice organizers, advocates, clinic staff, escorts, and folks seeking reproductive healthcare in Texas following the passage of SB 8. We as an organization pride ourselves on building a coalition of support and advocacy. As an organization, we also have a history of centering the voices of white, able-bodied, cis-women above others. This is a history we have been actively working to take accountability for and to intentionally chart a new course for our future. This work is informed by our commitment to the values of Reproductive Justice, a Black feminist framework, and a commitment to center the voices of those most intimately impacted by our work.

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Our Statement Supporting the Direct Action at Anti-Abortion Church Event

Photo by Paul Becker

BACKGROUND: On January 22, 2021, a group of local leaders entered St. Joseph Cathedral in Columbus, Ohio, during an event explicitly dedicated to anti-abortion political advocacy and ideology.

We, the Board and Staff of Women Have Options - Ohio, issue this statement in support of the direct action of local abortion leaders who disrupted an anti-abortion event at St. Joseph’s Cathedral on the anniversary of Roe V Wade

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WHO/O Stands Against Police Brutality

Police violence may not seem like the concern of a Midwest abortion fund, but we as the Board and Staff of Women Have Options- Ohio know different. We know that opposing police violence and challenging systemic racism must be central to the work we do.

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Fund Freedom. Build Power.

Summary: Fund Abortion AND our local Community Bail Fund on June 10th, 2020 starting at 10am HERE

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WINTER 2020 EVENTS - come through for abortion access!

Friend --

It’s a new year and I hope one of your resolutions is to get more involved in Ohio's reproductive justice, rights, and health community! We need you!

Join us at one of our many upcoming events to get plugged in, ready to FUNd abortion, and advocate for abortion access in Ohio. We have a bunch of fun events coming up to celebrate the anniversary of Roe V Wade, to bust abortion stigma, and to directly support those having abortions in Ohio. Click on the pictures below to get all the details, RSVP, and invite all of your friends!

We are so grateful for you and we hope to see you soon!

Warmly,

Stephanie's Signature

Steph, Executive Director, & the whole WHO/O family

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Driving Abortion Access

Friends! I wanted to share the public launch of the Women Have Options/ Ohio abortion access driver program.

WHO/O is proud of our work to provide financial assistance for people seeking abortion care in Ohio for the past 27 years, but there are often many other barriers to abortion in addition to the cost of the actual medical procedure — traveling long distances to a provider, taking time off work, finding childcare, and other obstacles can put abortion care out of reach for many people.

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Standing Together Against Ohio's Abortion Bans

Leaders, organizations, and individuals dedicated to working in the reproductive health, rights, and justice communities in Ohio vow to continue to center people who’ve had abortions and the people who may need them in the future by committing ourselves to working toward unapologetic abortion access and the realization of reproductive freedom for all Ohioans.

We are disappointed and dismayed, but wholly unsurprised by the latest attack on reproductive autonomy passed by the Ohio legislature on April 10, 2019. Ohio politicians have voted to enact one of the nation’s strictest anti-abortion laws, outlawing abortion procedures after only six weeks of pregnancy-before most people even know they are pregnant. Simultaneously, Ohio already has laws in place that make it very difficult for people to get an abortion, even very early in pregnancy.

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