Press Release: Hundreds Urge State Legislators to Stop Passing Laws That Hurt Women

Columbus – Hundreds of citizens joined abortion-rights advocates today to demand an end to the anti-woman agenda pushed by Gov. John Kasich and his legislative allies and instead embrace equal pay, paid family leave and other laws that improve the health of Ohio women and families.

“Even before Gov. Kasich took office, Ohio already had some of the most restrictive abortion laws in the country, putting women’s health, dignity, and economic solvency in jeopardy,’’ said Kellie Copeland, Executive Director of NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio. “Instead of stigmatizing women and interfering with abortion access, legislators should enable women to access abortion and all other forms of reproductive health care.’’

Since Kasich became governor in January 2011, nearly half of the state’s abortion clinics have closed and Ohio has seen 18 new, unnecessary restrictions on access to reproductive health care.

In Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt, a landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision handed down last year, the nation’s highest court acknowledged what medical experts have long known: Laws that shut down abortion clinics and force patients to travel long distances for services not only fail to improve women’s health they also compromise the care women receive.

“That ruling has not stopped federal or state policymakers from trying to advance laws and policies that hurt women and undermine human rights,’’ said Jasmine Burnett, Deputy Director of New Voices for Reproductive Justice. “Instead of these policies, Ohio legislators must make sure all people receive a living wage – instead of preventing cities from raising wages – stop the criminal justice system’s practice of targeting communities of color and create access to abortion and comprehensive sex education.’’

Burnett unveiled new polling of Black adults that showed:

87 percent agree each woman must have the right to decide whether to have an abortion, even if they disagree with her reason;
96 percent believe a woman’s ability to decide whether to have children is vital to her financial stability;
78 percent said their religious beliefs do not interfere with their views on abortion.
In Ohio, like so many others states, anti-choice laws extend beyond restricting reproductive services and include attempts to limit access to birth control. One main line of attack: Defund Planned Parenthood – one of the state’s leading providers of contraception.

Planned Parenthood of Greater Ohio provides contraception to over 20,000 men and women, lowers teen pregnancy with programs serving 43,000 annually and offers cancer screenings to more than 61,000 patients each year. Planned Parenthood also runs successful infant mortality rate reduction programs, and efforts to undermine Planned Parenthood come as Ohio is home to one of the nation’s highest infant mortality rates. In some regions of the state, African-American mothers lose their babies to infant mortality at three times the rate of white mothers.

State Rep. Stephanie Howse, a Cleveland Democrat who heads the Ohio Legislative Black Caucus, represents one of Ohio poorest legislative districts and called on lawmakers to stop efforts to undermine reproductive health care and advance policies that lift people out of poverty.

“The people I know want to be good people, they want to live a life where they can take care of their families, they want good schools and clean water,” Rep. Howse said. “Many of the policies we see in Ohio are hurting their ability to achieve those goals, and in the process they are hurting our entire state.’’

Despite evidence the assaults on women’s health care hurt women, they continue today. Speakers said they expect legislation calling for additional abortion bans and more funding for crisis pregnancy centers.

Freedom of Choice Ohio Lobby Day was made possible by the following:

Title Sponsors:
NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio Foundation
New Voices for Reproductive Justice
NCJW Columbus and Cleveland Sections
Ohio Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice
Planned Parenthood Advocates of Ohio

Program Sponsors:
Ohio NOW
Ohio NOW Education and Legal Fund

Table Sponsors:
Ohio League of Women Voters
Women Have Options / Ohio


Issue 1 Passes with an overwhelming majority!

We did it! Abortion and other reproductive care services are now protected in the Ohio Constitution! Support Pro-Choice Ohio’s continued work to ensure safe and equitable abortion care for all Ohioans.