NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio calls on Justice Sharon Kennedy’s recusal

Columbus, Ohio — NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio is calling on Ohio Supreme Court Justice Sharon Kennedy to recuse herself from relevant cases coming before the court this year following her appearance at a Toledo fundraiser hosted by Right to Life of Greater Toledo.

NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio Executive Director Kellie Copeland said: “Justice Sharon Kennedy should recuse herself from any case related to legislation that was proposed and supported by the anti-abortion groups that endorsed her candidacy, to avoid any appearance of impropriety.”

She continued: “By participating in an organization’s fundraising event, Justice Kennedy has cast serious doubt on her ability remain impartial. Ohioans must be able to have faith in their government’s protection of rights without bias.”

Two cases involving abortion providers will come before the state Supreme Court this year. Toledo’s last abortion clinic, Capital Care Network of Toledo, is challenging the state’s transfer agreement requirements. Separately, Cleveland abortion clinic Preterm is challenging abortion restrictions added into the 2013 state budget as violations of Ohio’s single-subject requirement for legislation.


Ohio Right to Life unveils new bills, NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio responds

Columbus — Ohio Right to Life issued a statement outlining their legislative agenda for the 132nd General Assembly. Their largely unconstitutional platform would continue to restrict access to abortion care for Ohio women.

NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio Executive Director Kellie Copeland said: “Ohio Right to Life doesn’t care about women’s health. There is not a single thing in their agenda that improves women’s health. In fact, the new restrictions they are proposing will interfere with the doctor patient relationship and prevent women from accessing the care that is best for themselves and their families. The goal of Ohio Right to Life is clear: to invoke shame and stigma against women who access abortion and to punish the medical professionals that care for them.

“This dangerous agenda underscores why it is imperative that Judge Neil Gorsuch not be confirmed to serve a life-time appointment to the US Supreme Court. Access to quality reproductive health care is a fundamental right and American value that was recently reaffirmed by the US Supreme Court in the Whole Women’s Health vs. Hellerstedt case. NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio is unrelenting in our mission to protect Ohio women from these dangerous attacks in Columbus and Washington.”


NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio Statement on Nomination of Neil Gorsuch to US Supreme Court

Columbus, Ohio — President Trump has nominate Judge Neil Gorsuch to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court.

NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio Executive Director Kellie Copeland said: “The Supreme Court is the court of last resort. Justices have a solemn responsibility to ensure equal protection under the law for all Americans, including women, workers, the LGBTQ community, immigrants, and people of color. It’s the place that Americans turn time and again when government oversteps and interferes in people’s personal and private decisions. The Senate failed to even hold a hearing with the first nomination for this seat, and Americans haven’t seen much from the White House to be confident about this week. President Trump has vowed to stack the court with justices that will overturn Roe v. Wade and outlaw abortion. We need to make sure this nominee isn’t going to try to legislate from the bench, and reject the nomination if he is.

Copeland continued: “Neil Gorsuch has a clear track record of supporting an agenda that undermines abortion access and endangers women. There is no doubt that this nominee is a direct threat to Roe v. Wade and the promise it holds for women’s equality. The fact that the court has repeatedly reaffirmed Roe over the past four decades would no longer matter, just as facts often don’t seem to matter to President Trump. Confirming Gorsuch to a lifetime on the Supreme Court would make good on Trump’s repeated promises to use his appointments to overturn Roe v. Wade and punish women.”

President Trump has a long history of promising to nominate justices intent on overturning Roe v. Wade. Here is a brief background on what we know about Judge Neil Gorsuch:

Current position: judge, Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals.
Appointed by anti-choice president George W. Bush; confirmed by voice vote.
He has contributed to anti-choice elected officials including Bill Frist, John McCain, and George W. Bush.[i]
He clerked for anti-choice Associate Justice Byron White.
He also clerked for mixed-choice Associate Justice Anthony Kennedy.
The conservative Federalist Society lists him as an “expert” on its website.[ii]
In a case challenging the Utah governor’s executive action defunding Planned Parenthood Association of Utah, Gorsuch wrote an anti-choice dissent, in which he describes the motivation for the governor’s order as based on the activities alleged in videos released in the summer of 2015, and not because of the governor’s anti-choice position.[iii]
When the Tenth Circuit decided against rehearing en banc a challenge to the ACA’s contraceptive-coverage policy (Little Sisters of the Poor v. Burwell), Gorsuch joined the dissenting opinion. Dissenters called the contraceptive-coverage policy a clear burden on the plaintiffs’ free exercise of religion and predicted that the policy would “not long survive.”[iv]
Gorsuch concurred with the Tenth Circuit’s anti-choice ruling in Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc. v. Sebelius. He wrote a concurring opinion that the ACA’s contraceptive-coverage policy required Hobby Lobby “to violate their religious faith by lending an impermissible degree of assistance to conduct their religion teaches to be gravely wrong.” He continues, “the mandate compels Hobby Lobby and Mardel to underwrite payments for drugs or devices that can have the effect of destroying a fertilized human egg.”
He submitted an amicus brief on behalf of the American Hospital Association in a case about assisted suicide. He referenced Planned Parenthood v. Casey and wrote, in reference to public hospitals being required to provide elective abortions, “If the courts feel free to override the conscience of health care providers in that context, there is a danger they will do so here as well.”[v]
In a challenge to Oklahoma’s license-plate program, which allows for “Choose Life” license plates that fund anti-choice crisis pregnancy centers, the district court dismissed the case on procedural grounds. Gorsuch ruled that although some of the charges were rightfully dismissed, others could be heard on the merits so he remanded the case back to the district court for further proceedings. In his opinion, he wrote: “even if [the plaintiff] were to prevail and obtain the relief sought in its amended complaint, the State would remain free to promote adoption and ensure that none of its monies go to abortion-related activities or any other activities of which it disapproves.”[vi]
He wrote a novel, The Future of Assisted Suicide and Euthanasia, which argued against legalization of assisted suicide on the principle that human life is intrinsically valuable and that terminating human life is always wrong.[vii]

[i] The Center for Responsive Politics, Search for donations of Neil Gorsuch, available at
[iii] Planned Parenthood Association of Utah v. Herbert, No. 15-4189 (2016).
[iv] Little Sisters of the Poor v. Burwell, No. 13-1540 (2015).
[v] Brief of Amici Curiae American Hospital Association, State of Washington v. Glucksberg, et al, WL 656278 (U.S.) (1996) (Nos. 96-220, 96-1858).
[vi] Hill v. Kemp, (WL 478 F.3d 1236), No. 05-5160 (2007).


Unconstitutional Anti-Abortion Bill Returns to Ohio Statehouse

Columbus, Ohio — Attempting to violate recent, clear guidance from the US Supreme Court, state legislators have re-introduced an unconstitutional bill to place medically-unnecessary restrictions on women seeking abortion. Sponsored by Sen. Joe Uecker, Senate Bill 28 attempts to create an undue burden by forcing women to cremate or bury fetal and embryonic tissue.
NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio Executive Director Kellie Copeland said: “This bill would impose intrusive, cruel mandates and medically unnecessary regulations on abortion care. This bill does nothing to respect or support a woman who has made the decision to end her pregnancy. Lawmakers should respect a woman’s decision and focus on policies to improve women’s health; instead, they are mandating what a woman must do after having an abortion, regardless of her own wishes.”
Ohio already has sensible and responsible requirements for the disposal of all forms of biological tissue following medical procedures, including fetal and embryonic tissue. Abortion clinics and other health care providers already adhere to these regulations. Senate Bill 28 creates new, burdensome requirements designed to make it harder for clinics to serve their patients and is part of ongoing efforts to push abortion out of reach for Ohio women.

NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio statement in response to Guttmacher report

NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio Executive Director Kellie Copeland released the following statement in response to a report from Guttmacher Institute:

“The report from Guttmacher indicates that there are several factors in play in the reduction of the abortion rate, all of which politicians must take into consideration as they put together their legislative agendas for 2017. Increases in use of contraceptives, especially IUDs and other long acting methods has reduced the unintended pregnancy rate. On the other side of the coin you have the 18 dangerous restrictions that Kasich signed into law since he took office limiting access to care.
“As we move into 2017, politicians must not attack access to reproductive healthcare services by continuing efforts to defund Planned Parenthood or to roll back the gains we made under the Affordable Care Act. Time and time again, Governor Kasich and the Ohio legislature have put politics ahead of the health and wellbeing of women, with complete disregard for the impacts these policies will have. Congress and the Ohio legislature need to focus not on continuing these attacks, but on finding real solutions that improve health and improve a woman’s ability to make the best reproductive health decision for her.”

Report: U.S. Abortion Rate Reaches Record Low Amidst Looming Onslaught Against Reproductive Health and Rights


DeWine to Appeal Against Abortion Provider

Today, Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine appealed to the Ohio Supreme Court in a continuing effort to completely block abortion access in Northwest Ohio.

NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio Executive Director Kellie Copeland said: “Mike DeWine is putting politics before women health, just as he always does. Toledo’s last abortion clinic is a critical resource for women across Northwest, Ohio. His ongoing campaign to close Capital Care is a waste of taxpayer dollars and an effort to support an unconstitutional restriction on doctors. What is the point of having an attorney general in Ohio if he won’t recognize the law?”

Lucas County Common Pleas Judge Myron Duhart and the 6th District court have each issued decisions granting Toledo’s last abortion provider the right to keep their doors open. Capital Care Network is fighting against Ohio’s medically unnecessary transfer agreement laws. Their case is supported by new legal precedent from the 2016 US Supreme Court decision, Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt. Despite the fresh interpretation of abortion rights from the high court, DeWine is continuing to spend taxpayer resources on appealing the case.

Toledo Abortion Clinic Remains Open

The Capital Care abortion clinic can continue to serve patients, according to a Sixth District Court of Appeals of Lucas County ruling. The facility is the only abortion clinic in Northwest Ohio. The ruling upholds a lower court decision halting orders from the Ohio Department of Health to close the clinic.

NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio Executive Director Kellie Copeland issued the following statement: “The US Supreme Court said if an abortion restriction is burdensome and does not improve care, then it is unconstitutional. Ohio’s transfer agreement requirements for abortion providers are burdensome and medically unnecessary. Today’s ruling is a common-sense decision, and protects the health of women across Northwest Ohio. John Kasich can appeal this if he wants, but he will lose. All 17 abortion restrictions he has signed into law have been purely political, and none have been based in medical science. Ohioans deserve access to safe, legal abortion care.”

Victory in Toledo

Today, Lucas County Court of Common Pleas Judge Myron Duhart ruled that Governor Kasich’ scheme to abuse his regulatory authority is unconstitutional. Judge Duhart rejected the arguments made by Attorney General Mike DeWine. As a result, Toledo’s only remaining abortion clinic, Capital Care Network, will remain open.

NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio Executive Director Kellie Copeland offered the following statement: “Despite all the back-door deals, and shady maneuvering, John Kasich and Mike DeWine have failed in their crusade to effectively outlaw abortion in Toledo. This is great news for Toledo’s women and we congratulate Attorney Jennifer Branch, and the staff at Capital Care Network on their court victory today.

“The Ohio legislature and John Kasich ought to read Judge Duhart’s ruling carefully. They should remove the provisions that they added at the 11th hour that target abortion clinics in the currently proposed budget. These measures are also likely to be found to violate the due process rights of abortion providers and be found unconstitutional. It’s time for Kasich and DeWine to stop wasting taxpayer dollars on their personal quest to outlaw abortion.”

Ruling from the Honorable Judge Myron Duhart

The u.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe V Wade

Abortion access is temporarily restored in Ohio, and we’re going to keep fighting to keep it that way!

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