Columbus — The Ohio House Health Committee approved Substitute Senate Bill 23. The bill goes to the full House for a vote tomorrow.

Below, please find excepts of testimony offered in opposition to the bill during the committee process.

NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio Deputy Director Jaime Miracle said: “Do Ohio’s representatives want their legacy to be that they punished women and outlawed abortion? Do they want to make Ohio a place where the poor are punished and the rich leave to get the medical care need? Or would we all rather have policies that promote the wellbeing of Ohio’s women and their families, like paid family leave, pay equity and quality, affordable child care? What is all of this really about? If the goal is to reduce the number of abortions in Ohio, there are better ways to do that, such as enacting paid family leave, pay equity, increased access to contraceptive services, comprehensive and medically accurate sex education in our schools, and quality affordable child care.”

Dr. Erika Boothman, an Ohio OB/GYN who told the committee that medical providers will leave Ohio: “I am a doctor who has promised to take care of women in whatever condition they present. This will lead to worse outcomes for women of Ohio. Every day I use my training to counsel patients so that they may identify and choose smart medical decisions for themselves. I am standing here on behalf of my patients, Ohio women, your constituents, telling you that supporting this bill is a poor choice.”

David Brewer, a partner who supported his wife in having an abortion: “Having our children when we wanted to have them (and were emotionally and financially ready to do so) has allowed us to become the parents we wished to be, and to help make our kids the splendid individuals that they are.”

Rev. Elizabeth Gedert, United Church of Christ: “God’s call to care for the vulnerable means that we should look first to the actual persons who are already breathing in this world. In domestic violence situations, men often withhold contraception as a way to control their partners. Forcing a birth isn’t going to do anything about that. We have more kids in need of safe and loving foster homes than people who are willing to care for them. Forcing births isn’t going to do anything about that.”

Angela Marvin, who terminated a wanted pregnancy after severe medical complications: “I had an abortion at 17 weeks and 3 days after learning Ezra had died in utero sometime around 16 weeks gestation due to cord entanglement. When I share that with people, it causes confusion because people don’t tend to recognize that after a fetal death, many women require a procedure to remove the fetal tissue and placenta and that procedure is an abortion. I am so grateful that I had multiple options that were compassionately explained to me and that I was able to choose a medication abortion.”

Chelsea McIntosh, who terminated a wanted pregnancy after severe medical complications: “The choice belongs to women who desperately want their babies, but cannot, for whatever reason, bring them into this world. It belongs to victims of sexual assault, whose pregnancies were formed under violent circumstances. It belongs to the sister or cousin whose abortion you don’t know about and might not have approved of; for the coworker or friend-of-a-friend who had to drive to another state or borrow money just to get the healthcare they needed.”

Judi Moseley: “This bill should actually be called the “Forced Parenthood” bill as the result of a ban on abortions after six weeks as proposed by this bill, when most women don’t even realize they are pregnant, is in effect forcing women — and their partners or spouses when present — into parenthood that very likely will threaten their economic stability and health and by extension the stability of their extended families and community.”

Elaina Ramsey, Executive Director of the Ohio Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice: “As a faithfully pro-choice Christian, I choose to advocate for policies and practices that support the well-being of pregnant people and families, such as affordable health care, paid family and medical leave, comprehensive sex education, birth control, and equal pay. I choose to stand with the vast majority of Americans and people of faith (and non-faith) who are in favor of keeping abortion safe and legal.”

Hannah Servedio: “I am pro safe, legal & accessible abortion care. I am for people having the ability to decide what is best for themselves & move forward with whatever can help them live authentically. I am for Ohio’s confident & educated teenagers growing up into confident and educated adults, knowing their worth and not being afraid to speak up for what they need. I urge you to vote no on Senate Bill 23, a piece of dangerous & unconstitutional legislation with little to no exceptions, as it counteracts so much of what we teach.“

Dr. Anita Somani: “Criminalizing physician’s actions that are consistent with their professional standards of care is simply unacceptable. If laws like this are allowed in Ohio, it will not be long before there will be a shortage of obstetricians in our state, as young professionals will not choose Ohio to locate their practice. Why would these young doctors voluntarily place themselves in the midst of a potential legal quagmire that would prevent them from meeting their moral obligations to provide care for their patients? Regardless of the doctor’s moral and legal peril, the provisions in this bill reflect a complete lack of understanding of the medical realities that are faced every day by patients and doctors in our community.”

Dr. Nan Wang: “Every pregnancy increases a woman’s risk of dying, and for women with pre-existing medical conditions, every pregnancy poses a risk to her life. For the woman with diabetes, carrying a pregnancy to term means she could go blind, be admitted to the ICU for diabetic ketoacidosis or lose consciousness from hypoglycemia (both life-threatening conditions for mother and child). She also has a high risk of having pre-eclampsia which could cause seizures, a life-altering stroke, as well as problems for her pregnancy and unborn child. For the woman with a history of heart problems or heart surgery, a pregnancy could cause her to go into heart failure or have a heart attack. Even healthy women have a risk of dying from their pregnancy due to massive hemorrhage, preeclampsia leading to seizures or stroke, overwhelming infection, blood clots, or postpartum depression. Women take on these risks to have children, but what about the woman who chooses to survive to take care of her other children at home. Do we have to force her to put her life on the line?”

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