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.
When someone has decided to have an abortion, they should be able to get the care they need with respect and dignity, and without being forced to leave the state. Living a safe and healthy life is a basic right-as is the freedom to decide when and if to become a parent.
For years, Ohio politicians have ignored and undermined the voices of people who matter most in any conversation about abortion-the women and people who have had abortions and who may need access to them in the future. They have ignored the testimony of people who have had abortions, experienced physicians, lawyers, social workers, nurses, midwives, faith leaders from many denominations, and countless others who have testified in the Statehouse against a six week ban time and time and time and time and time again.
This bill is not only flawed because of politicians’ insistence on ignoring medical expertise, not only because it is blatantly unconstitutional, aggressive, oppressive legislation, but because the defense of this bill will cost Ohioans valuable resources. These dollars could be spent improving Ohio’s unconstitutional school funding system, improving our dismal rates of maternal and infant mortality, providing access to reasonable public transportation, improving job readiness skills and bringing industry to Ohio, expanding access to healthcare, addressing food insecurity, and addressing the myriad ways that Ohioans struggle to live and raise their families with dignity and respect.
This bill is part of a strategy to dismantle legal access to abortion in the United States. Bills just like it have passed or are in the process of being passed in Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Kentucky, Missouri, Mississippi, North Dakota, Tennessee, and Texas. We are in solidarity with the people in these states who have also been deemed unworthy of making their own healthcare decisions and whose knowledge of their lives and bodies has been undermined by politicians.
Throughout our work, we have been threatened, harassed, and have faced increased barriers to testifying in our own self-preservation and the preservation of our communities. We are saddened, we are angry, and we are resolved to fighting for healthcare access for all
Ohioans. Ohio deserves quality healthcare that includes abortion as part of the full spectrum of comprehensive, preventative reproductive healthcare services.
Together, we are in solidarity as a coalition, united in the common cause of pursuing full access to all reproductive healthcare for Ohioans, including abortion care. We thank our supporters and allies; women and people who’ve had abortions and told their stories publicly and bravely, legislators who worked together with us against this bill, and many others: physicians, healthcare providers, lawyers, and clergy who bravely told their stories and the stories of the communities they serve, and all the brave Ohioans who shared their support for abortion access.
Politicians may have passed an abortion ban in Ohio, but we are fighting it and continuing to provide abortion services, comprehensive reproductive healthcare, advocacy, spiritual leadership and guidance, and many other important services our communities rely on. We are engaged in an intentional legal strategy against this bill. We are open. We are here. We are fighting.
NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio
New Voices for Reproductive Justice
Ohio Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice
Planned Parenthood Advocates of Ohio
Women Have Options/ Ohio
*We thank the Georgia Reproductive Health, Rights, And Justice Coalition and Feminist Women’s Health Center for the inspiration in writing this message.