Columbus — On Thursday, April 11th, Governor Mike DeWine signed Substitute Senate Bill 23, a bill that will essentially eliminate abortion in Ohio. This bill has no exceptions for victims of rape or incest, and woefully inadequate exceptions for the health and life of the woman. Countless hours of testimony against the bill were provided to both the Ohio House and Senate throughout the hearing process and hundreds of protestors came to the Statehouse for its passage. Ohio is the fifth and largest state to pass this law despite courts blocking its implementation as unconstitutional in other states where it has passed.

The resolution passed by Council details how this ban will negatively impact the City of Columbus’s ability to attract qualified medical professionals and businesses to the city, and works directly against local efforts like CelebrateOne and Restoring Our Own Through Transformation (ROOTT) to reduce infant mortality and promote the health of its citizens. Abortion access is a key component of comprehensive health care for women, and research demonstrates that babies are more likely to live to their first birthday if their mothers have a lifetime of good health.

Access to comprehensive reproductive healthcare supports the health and wellbeing of women and families in Columbus by providing safe and healthy family planning options, preventing unintended pregnancies, increasing women’s participation in the labor force, and improving economic security for families.

Elizabeth Brown, President Pro Tempore, Columbus City Council: “Rather than implementing regressive and extreme policies like Substitute Senate Bill 23, policy makers should instead focus on supportive services to reduce unintended pregnancies and promote the success of all families by investing in comprehensive sex education, access to contraceptives, and quality affordable childcare.”

Kellie Copeland, Executive Director, NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio: “Governor DeWine and anti-choice Ohio legislators are waging a crusade to outlaw abortion in our state; forcing people to continue pregnancies regardless of the harm that may come to them or their family. The public servants on Columbus City County are wisely standing up for the reproductive freedom and dignity that everyone who needs abortion care deserves.

“Councilperson Elizabeth Brown and her colleagues understand that being able to make their own decisions about when or whether to continue a pregnancy to term is essential to a person being able to care for themselves and their family, and that strong families are the foundation for a strong community. We thank council for taking a strong stand against this dangerous abortion ban.”

Iris E. Harvey, President and CEO, Planned Parenthood of Greater Ohio and Planned Parenthood Advocates of Ohio: “By signing this bill, the DeWine administration is effectively outlawing safe, legal abortion in Ohio by preventing people from accessing abortion as early as six-weeks into a pregnancy, which is before most know people know they are pregnant. Ohio lawmakers have inserted themselves where they have no business, in the important relationship between a patient and their doctor, endangering their health and lives by interfering with a doctor’s ability to treat a pregnant patient without fear or threat of prosecution. Further, this law would criminalize a doctor who provides the care that a patient needs. A doctor performing ethical and medical duties would be subject to felony charges, prosecution, and civil lawsuits.

“Ohio’s communities deserve and need access to affordable and accessible reproductive health care, which includes safe, legal abortion. Planned Parenthood applauds the Columbus City Council and Councilwoman Liz Brown’s leadership in centering patient voices in the fight to reduce Ohio’s embarrassingly high rates of infant mortality and maternal morbidity and recognizing that trusting people to make the right decisions for them and their families leads to healthier families and communities across Ohio.”

Jessica Roach, CEO and founder of Restoring Our Own Through Transformation, a kindred partner of the Black Mamas Matter Alliance: “ROOTT stands firmly in that this, and other legislative bills of its kind that further deny access to all reproductive health care, is a violation of patient’s right to informed decision making. Bills like Senate Bill 23 will not only further criminalize Black families, but will create an environment for increased incidence of Maternal Mortality, and continue the historical, systemically racist and oppressive approach that allows a few to dictate how, where, when, and IF we create a family. ROOTT stands in the principles of Reproductive Justice and the human right to autonomy. Our families and communities have been disrupted and destroyed by policy created over our 400 year timeline with absolutely no regard for our autonomy and it must stop.

“We are thankful that Columbus City Council sees the dangers imposed by this legislation and will continue to work in Central Ohio to improve maternal health in our community.”

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