On June 28, NARAL Pro-Choice America’s board of directors voted to fully nationalize the organization, by eliminating ties to all 11 independent state affiliate organizations, including NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio. Regardless of the decision by NARAL Pro-Choice America, we want you to know that NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio is strong and remains committed to you and our work together to protect abortion access in Ohio.
As state-based advocates for reproductive freedom, NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio envisions a world where everyone can access abortion care safely, affordably, and locally without punishment, stigma, or judgment. Every day the NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio team wakes up and goes to work to ensure you and each and every Ohioan has the ability to make decisions that are best for themselves and their families—to decide if, when, how, and with whom to have a child—and to make sure they have the resources they need to do so. We believe this is the only path to build thriving, equitable communities where all can live with dignity and equality.
You’ve got questions, we’ve got answers
After we sent out the unified statement from the NARAL affiliates, we received several questions from supporters and reporters alike. Here’s a helpful FAQ to address some of your concerns:
The national organization NARAL Pro-Choice America made a decision to tell all of the 11 state-level affiliates — including NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio — that they either need to be absorbed or leave the NARAL affiliation.
What would that mean in Ohio?
If NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio would allow itself to be absorbed, all of our local work in Ohio would cease as we know it. We will not allow that to happen. Our efforts in local communities throughout Ohio are too important to hand over decision-making authority to an office in Washington D.C. with no Ohio staff.
What is the next step for NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio?
We’re standing strong with other affiliate states and remaining independent of the national office. Our team in Ohio is committed to continuing the work in Ohio to protect abortion access for everyone.
I gave a donation to NARAL. Where did that money go?
It depends. Gifts to NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio (Thank you!) remained in Ohio and were spent on reproductive rights advocacy in Ohio. Gifts to the national NARAL Pro-Choice America office do not go to work in Ohio. Those donations are spent on campaigns in other states and on federal-level projects. If you want to fund local work, you have to give locally.
Is NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio disaffiliating? Will you change your name?
Our board has not made a decision to disaffiliate, but the national organization has decided to eliminate ties to affiliates. Former NARAL affiliates in New York state, Colorado, and Texas are currently doing great work under new names, and we may likely follow by their example. No matter what our organization is called, we will always be right here fighting for Ohioans first.
Representatives Kyle Koehler and Sarah Fowler Arthur have introduced a bill to force doctors to lie to patients, potentially putting people’s health in danger, specifically about medicines anti-abortion organizations claim interrupt the abortion process. So-called abortion reversal ideas are founded in lies about how medication abortion works and an attempt to spread more misinformation about abortion care. This false information should never be allowed to be written into state law.
NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio Executive Director Kellie Copeland said: “Abortion opponents in Ohio are continuing their efforts to stigmatize abortion with medically-inaccurate information and unproven, potentially dangerous, practices. Abortion providers rely on scientifically accurate and thoroughly researched protocols to support patients before, during, and after an abortion. Rep. Koehler and Fowler Arthur are trying to mislead patients and discredit abortion providers. Patients need medically accurate information, not scripts dictated by politicians filled with deception and ideologically-driven claims.”
The idea of using progesterone to interrupt a medication abortion was unproven last session when this bill was introduced, and now there is even more evidence showing that this protocol could pose a danger to patients. Medication abortion with mifepristone is a combination of two medications – and we know it is a safe and effective way of ending an early pregnancy, based rigorous scientific research and almost 20 years of use in this country.
Kia Guarino is the executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice Washington. Tara Romano is the executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice North Carolina. They co-wrote an article in Truthout.org about the importance of protecting abortion access at the state level:
Every single person in the U.S. would be impacted by the overturning of Roe v. Wade. We all know and love someone who has had an abortion. In fact, an estimated 23.7 percent of people who can give birth will have an abortion by age 45. Without Roe, it will be even be more likely you or someone you love could be criminally charged for having a miscarriage: In Georgia, people could face up to 30 years in prison for miscarrying; in Alabama, an individual was charged with manslaughter in the loss of pregnancy after being shot; in Washington State for miscarrying in a hotel room — or even for using certain forms of birth control. Any one of us could be sued for driving a friend or partner to their abortion, under the new Texas law that criminalizes “aiding and abetting” of abortions. If you are lucky to live in a place with state-level abortion protections, you could expect that your independent clinics and abortion providers, who are already under-resourced, would be further constrained when people from neighboring states come to seek care. No one is exempt from the impact of overturning Roe v. Wade, and no one should underestimate the power of precedent when it comes to removing individual rights to bodily autonomy.
The protection of reproductive rights at the state level, both the creation of policies that improve abortion access and the prevention of restrictive policies that reduce it, has taken decades. It has been most effective with local power- and relationship-building, the intentional centering of community voices and the cultivation of egoless leadership. Expanding reproductive rights can only be accomplished through the continued building of trust with and participation by community members in the grassroots organizing groups.
Toledo event: Repro Health Happy Hour
Toledo’s Repro Health Happy Hour group is back and better than ever! This month’s event was an opportunity to get together with all of our favorite local repro friends and spend some time in community together after the last year. Repro Health Happy Hour is a monthly networking event for sexual and reproductive health, rights and justice professionals, advocates, and allies. The event was founded in NYC in 2004 & has since spread to more than 32 cities worldwide. We can’t wait to see you again!
For 10 years, gerrymandering has kept us from the political power we deserve. But this year, the Equal Districts coalition is fighting back for fair maps. We’re in an all hands on deck moment and we need YOU to help us win on redistricting. Join us at a stop on our 10 city Fair Maps Town Hall Tour this summer to learn how you can join us in this once in a decade opportunity to get the fair political representation we need!
Click a location for address info and registration.
July 26 at 5 PM: Athens
July 27 at 5 PM: Cincinnati
July 28 at 5 PM: Canton
July 29 at 5PM: Dayton
July 31 at 10 AM: Toledo
July 31 at 1:30 PM: Lima
August 2 at 5 PM: Youngstown
August 3 at 5 PM: Akron
August 4 at 5 PM: Cleveland
August 7 at 10 AM: Columbus
Our members are building grassroots power to keep our legislators in check. Join us by becoming a NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio member today. Join the only organization in Ohio focused solely on abortion policy and advocacy. Together, we will protect reproductive freedom and let pregnant people decide whether or when to have a family. Our members are an essential part of this movement to expand access to safe and legal abortion care. Now that the U.S. Supreme Court has decided to hear a case that puts Roe v. Wade in jeopardy, what we do in Ohio matters.
Your financial support is vital at this time as we organize and train more advocates across the state to fight for fair legislative districts. Together, we can break free from the tyranny of gerrymandered districts — but we need your support to turn the tide. Fund grassroots organizers across the state who are, right now, mobilizing more advocates to fight against any abortion restriction.
Save the date: The 2nd annual Race for Repro Freedom
The 2nd Annual Race for Repro Freedom will be held October 9-17. The Race for Repro Freedom is a state-wide virtual 5k to raise awareness and funds to support the fight to keep abortion safe and legal in Ohio. Registration will open in August.
There are a few ways to get involved now:
- Sponsor the Race for Repro Freedom! Sponsorships are now available for pro-choice businesses, organizations, and individuals. Visit RaceForRepro.org and click on the sponsor tab for more information.
- Volunteer! Help make the Race for Repro Freedom a success by sharing your time and talent! Sign up to volunteer, and you’ll join other dedicated volunteers to plan event details and engage participants.
As Ohio begins to open back up and pandemic restrictions are lifted, there are still heavy concerns on protecting ourselves, access to reproductive health care, housing, food security, racial justice and more. We want to hear from you! What are the critical issues you face? What does your community need to help everyone thrive?
Join NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio Foundation and the Ohio Women’s Alliance for a virtual community conversation to discuss safety, security, and essential needs to improve the conditions in your community. We are holding space to come together and deepen our relationships to determine how to use our people power, share resources, and fill the gaps to push our state forward! Throughout this Spring and Summer, our team will be hosting small, localized discussions online each Wednesday evening.
Registration for our first few discussions is open now, but future events are scheduled for a community near you.
Register for upcoming dates:
July 21 at 6 PM: Ross County (Chillicothe)
July 28 at 6 PM: Mahoning County (Youngstown)
August 4 at 6 PM: Scioto County (Portsmouth)
August 11 at 6 PM: Cuyahoga County (Cleveland)
August 18 at 6 PM: Hamilton County (Cincinnati)
August 25 at 6 PM: Portage County (Ravenna/Kent)
September 1 at 6 PM: Franklin County (Columbus)
September 8 at 6 PM: Summit County (Akron)
…and from our partners:
Ohio RCRC podcast: System Upgrade Required: Why Abolition Is a Reproductive Justice Issue
Ohio RCRC Faith Organizers Kelley Fox and Terry Williams go in-depth on abolition, exploring why minor adjustments to a system not built for justice will never be enough. Listen in for a full rundown of how abortion and abolition intersect, including a discussion about practical ways we can start creating the justice-focused future of our dreams even as we speak.
Join The Daily Show co-creators Madeleine Smithberg and Lizz Winstead and the original correspondents, Beth Littleford, Brian Unger, and A. Whitney Brown to celebrate the 25th Anniversary of the show! This epic reunion special gathers the only people who can tell the story of how the show was conceived and then born with a small, scrappy, and brilliant team. Hosts Madeleine and Lizz will talk with each correspondent about favorite segments, outrageous memories, and more. Proceeds from the show will benefit Lizz Winstead’s non-profit Abortion Access Front.
Monday, July 19, 2021 at 9 PM
An Ohio Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice event: Healing is a key part of what it means to be faithful and in community with others. Learn how to share information about why Self-Managed Abortion (SMA) through medication is a safe, effective, and convenient reproductive health option for those in your community.
Tuesday, July 20, 2021 at 5 PM
Event by Ohio Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice: “The revolution starts at home — but it doesn’t end there. To truly build a world without police and prisons, we have to address where we are and take concrete steps so all people can live with freedom & dignity. Join us as we take what we’ve gleaned from our recent book club on restorative & transformative justice and learn how to make abolition & bodily autonomy possible by building alternatives to state-sanctioned violence.”
Tuesday, July 27, 2021 at noon