Columbus — Today, the Ohio Senate Health Committee voted to approve Senate Bill 23, the six-week abortion ban, in addition to Senate Resolution 41, which uses misinformation and inflammatory rhetoric. Both the bill and resolution are expected on the Senate floor on Wednesday.

On SR 41, NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio Executive Director Kellie Copeland said: “This resolution is clearly part of an orchestrated nation-wide campaign by anti-choice elected officials and organizations, from President Trump to the Ohio Legislature, all trying to demonize abortion providers and their supporters. Ben Sasse’s bill, and this resolution, are designed to incite violence. It reveals a complete lack of compassion for women and the medical professionals who care for them. Republicans in the Ohio Statehouse are directly using this as a smokescreen to distract Americans from their true agenda: to criminalize abortion, shut down clinics, and jail abortion providers and their patients. Each time anti-abortion legislators move to pass the 6-week abortion ban, they try to distract Ohioans from their extremist attacks by trying to move the conversation to abortion later in pregnancy.”

In the past two legislative sessions, Republican leadership has used extreme abortion bans to steer media coverage while passing separate restrictions with less attention. The timing of this resolution and the vote on the six-week abortion ban are not a coincidence. This symbolic resolution should not distract from the very real damage threatened by the six-week abortion ban also getting a Senate vote.

Copeland continued: “Let’s not forget it was Trump himself who said ‘there must be some form of punishment’ for a woman who has an abortion. Just as we have seen members of the media attacked following Trump’s instigation, we see attacks on abortion clinics increasing as a result of agitational lies. Despite the GOP’s continuous spreading hate speech from the anti-choice movement, we know the truth: the vast majority of Americans are firmly on the side of reproductive freedom. The majority of Americans across the political spectrum respect an individual’s right to make their reproductive healthcare decisions, including choosing abortion, and do not want politicians involved.”

A woman’s health should be the guiding factor in important medical decisions throughout her pregnancy, not political interference. What is claimed in this resolution and the federal bill is simply not how abortion care works. This resolution would exploit women’s medical situations as a means of stigmatizing abortion and blocking access to reproductive health care. It is not always possible for a woman to get an abortion as soon as she would like to. The decision to have an abortion, at any point in pregnancy, is a personal one.

On a related issue today, the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit ruled against Planned Parenthood of Greater Ohio and Planned Parenthood Southwest Ohio Region in a case over the state’s decision to defund the organizations’ educational and outreach programs. On this issue Kellie Copeland stated: “This is just another example of the extreme Mike DeWine agenda. As Attorney General and now as Governor he has continuously attacked access to reproductive health care, including abortion. Now because of these attacks people across the state will have their access to essential health care and education services curtailed. With today’s vote on the 6-week ban and an anti-abortion resolution, it is clear that this administration cares only about political attacks on abortion access and not about the health and well-being of the citizens of Ohio.”

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